Cape Town - In the wake of many drowning incidents across the city, the South African Junior Police Commissioners, and Community Policing Forums gathered to teach youngsters about water safety.
The initiative, which took place in Strandfontein yesterday, was supported by the Gift of the Givers.
The youngsters were taught how to deal with water and they also got a chance to ride kayaks.
Strandfontein Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Sandy Schutter said: “This is from the provincial office in Cape Town, we arranged kayaking as part of team building and to say thank you to the police for assisting during the festive season and to show the youth, especially the Junior Commissioners and may they also influence other youngsters to become part of the initiative.”
Junior Police Commissioner Lwandile Zitha, 15, said what he learned yesterday will also help him.
“We learned survival skills, basic swimming skills so one can be comfortable in water.
“I don’t like water but I’ve learned that I can trust the water, I’m learning how to treat water, use it so I can be comfortable and take control of the water.”
Outgoing Commissioner for the detectives Sinako Jakavula explained that the programme is about teaching kids who can’t swim yet.
“This is about how to conquer their fear of water. The senior lifeguard told us that when you ride the kayak using the power of the pushing arm, he also taught us that getting in the water is not as scary as one would think.”
The Gift of the Givers project coordinator Ali Sablay said it has a long-standing partnership with the police especially with social engagements.
“When the idea came up with the aqua training for the Junior National Commissioners around the province, we didn’t hesitate to support this initiative as we have seen the increase in drownings in the province.
“This can simply be avoided with training and with the commissioners being role models in their communities, they can go back and educate the young ones, especially those who visit the beach and pool area, on what dangers to look out for.
“This will also be a great boost for any of them deciding to become lifeguards. And of course, most importantly is saving lives in their communities and the beach or pools or anything to do with water. All credit due to the police for investing in social upliftment.
“We supported yesterday’s programme by providing hot meals, snacks and hopefully we can train more people from various underprivileged areas in the province about the importance of water safety.”