BACK TO WORK
There are still some caveats that will dictate the way in which Neighbourhood watch and farm watch groups can operate in their communities under Level 3 guidelines, but they have essentially been given the green-light to get back to work.
“The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, welcomes feedback received from the National Secretary of Police that Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) may now operate under Alert Level 3,” the Western Cape Community Safety cluster said in a statement on Monday 1 June.
“During a meeting today between officials of the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) and the National Secretary of Police, it was confirmed that the restrictions placed on NHWs have been lifted under Alert Level 3.”
They said that the groups would be put to work in COVID-19 hotspots to assist with efforts to stem the spread of the virus there.
“Within the targeted COVID-19 hotspot areas, NHWs will be deployed to assist in:
- Promoting adherence to regulations in terms of social distancing at places of gathering and queueing;
- Sharing communications as prescribed by DoCS, acting as a nodal point of information for DoCS; and
- Patrol in their community.
The Department of Community Safety will ensure that measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 amongst NHW members, including:
- The provision of cloth masks and hand sanitisers when operating;
- Setting the number of those who are permitted to operate and encouraging self-distancing between volunteers; and
- Ensuring that those who show symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 are not permitted to operate. They should quarantine at home for 14 days, and be guided by the advice from our dedicated COVID-19 Provincial Hotline.
Community Safety Minister in the Western Cape, Albert Fritz, said that the move would go a long way to enforcing law and order in communities across the country.
“The presence of NHWs will serve to prevent crime. During the lockdown, we have seen an increase in vandalism of schools and shop robberies, in rural and urban communities alike. I have heard the call of the many NHWs and Community Police Forums (CPFs) who have raised their hands and offered their support during this difficult period and am pleased to announce that NHW may now operate.”
He added that now was the right time to investigate a way in which to resume work in Community Policing Forums (CPFs), which have disbanded during the lockdown too.