Safety patrol groups and volunteer teams in Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Langa, and other areas came out in their numbers, to show visibility and safeguard their communities. Picture: Supplied.
Safety patrol groups and volunteer teams in Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Langa, and other areas came out in their numbers, to show visibility and safeguard their communities. Picture: Supplied.

Neighbourhood watches, CPFs initiate anti-looting patrols in Cape Town amid unrest

By Nomalanga Tshuma Time of article published Jul 14, 2021

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Cape Town - Political parties in the Western Cape legislature has called for peace and stability following the rampant looting and rioting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

It said it noted the current incidences of looting, violence, and attacks on property and people, and the loss of human life in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in particular.

It said the theft, violence and criminality has an impact on constitutional democracy and the rule of law in South Africa.

The statement was released by the DA, ANC, EFF, GOOD, ACDP and Al Jam-ah parties.

The parties said it appreciated the work of law enforcement agencies, neighbourhood watches, private security companies, community safety officers, and farm watches in maintaining law and order and called on communities not to take the law into their own hands.

Meanwhile community policing forums in local communities across the City have initiated anti-looting patrols in conjunction with active Neighbourhood Watches (NHW) in their areas.

Despite the cool weather conditions safety patrol groups and volunteer teams in Bonteheuwel, Gugulethu, Langa, and other areas came out in their numbers, to show visibility and safeguard their communities.

In Gugulethu, the Community Police Forum (CPF) in partnership with its local NHW team said it deployed members in areas that it identified as hot spots in response to the ongoing looting sprees across the country.

Gugulethu CPF chairperson, Thembinkosi Mjuza said: “Several watch groups have been deployed to Gugulethu Mall, Charlesville Mall and the Nyanga Junction as precautionary measures.

“We hope this partnership will be the start of a much-needed deterrent in our communities, to see our communities through our neighbourhood watch groups and our police officials.”

In Bonteheuwel, councillor, Angus McKenzie said: “We met last night with community volunteers and put in a place a fairly strong plan driven by intelligence.

“We have deployed all-out volunteer community ambassadors to every single retail business, we have set up WhatsApp groups with law enforcement officers in the area.

“We also have Business WhatsApp group for immediate reporting and response. Law enforcement is on standby to assist community volunteers. Street WhatsApp groups are also being used to filter information.

“Bonteheuwel is well prepared.”

In Langa, the Langa Safety Patrol says it will be going the extra mile to ensure that no looting of business or potential chaos arises in the community.

Spokesperson Bandile Gcuwa said: “When we heard some chatter about people mimicking what’s happening in the other provinces we immediately intensified our patrols.

“So far we closed both entrances into Langa and like usual we will be keeping a close eye on the situation.”

Cape officials commended the hard work of NHWs and CPFs on Wednesday morning who have been proactive in protecting their communities.

Premier Alan Winde said: “I am pleased that there have been no reports of looting across the Western Cape and that we continue to have calm in our communities. I want to thank every resident for continuing to stay calm, for respecting the law and for rejecting violence.

“I would also like to thank all our hard-working officers, be they in SAPS or local law enforcement, as well as our Neighbourhood Watches and volunteers, for helping keep the Western Cape safe.”

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz added: “I want to thank all neighbourhood watch members who have committed to assisting authorities by being the eyes and ears of SAPS and other law enforcement agencies.

“I want to thank members for stepping up and for taking ownership of their communities. Last night we saw a neighbourhood watch stop an isolated, attempted looting of a mall by a small group. SAPS were quickly called, and the risk averted. So neighbourhood watches have an incredibly important role to play.”

As of this morning, the Western Cape had seen no public violence linked to the protests and looting seen in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. There, significant damage and loss to private and public property has been reported.

Members of the public are urged - in the event of any emergency - to contact the emergency services immediately. The easiest number to remember is 112. This is a tollfree number and can be dialled from any cell phone.

* Additional reporting by Theolin Tembo

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