Cape Town - A non-profit organisation has partnered with Stellenbosch Municipality, police and leading private security companies in the area to launch an informal car guard project in Stellenbosch earlier this week.
The organisation, Winelands Safety Initiative (WSI) has also partnered with Visit Stellenbosch and SBC and AM private security in what it has described as a groundbreaking collaboration.
“This initiative aims to address the pressing issue of informal parking attendants who have been harassing and exploiting visitors due to their lack of knowledge about parking regulations. The primary objective is to enhance security and provide a safer environment for both residents and visitors in the Stellenbosch central business district (CBD),” WSI chairman Andre Pelser said.
Approximately 40 high-vetted car guards were all screened for criminal records and will be strategically deployed throughout the Stellenbosch CBD.
WSI said the dedicated car guards will not only assist motorists with parking, but will be diligently monitoring their areas for any suspicious activities and promptly report any incidents to the municipal operation control centre as well as the control centres of ABC and AM security.
The organisation further stated to ensure they are visible, guards will be dressed in reflective bibs bearing the logos of WSI, the municipality, and Visit Stellenbosch.
The words ‘parking attendant’ will also be displayed at the back of the bibs along with the number of the municipal control room.
Visible identification will also be displayed on their chests.
As the winter season has hit the province, guards will also be provided with raincoats, caps and a community safety application which will ensure seamless and structured communications between guards and security partners.
All guards have also completed a comprehensive training workshop on public interaction, area monitoring and reporting suspicious activities.
“Emphasising community involvement, the majority of the guards are recruited from Kayamandi, with additional participants hailing from the Stellenbosch Shelter and local street communities.
“The attendants’ income will primarily come from motorists and surrounding businesses. To reduce their vulnerability to robberies, WSI is assisting attendants to download bank apps on their cellphones for cashless transactions, an alternative to traditional cash payments,” Pelser said.
The security companies that have partnered with this project have also stated their intent to consider outstanding guards for potential employment opportunities, rewarding those who excel in their security duties.
Stellenbosch Municipality communications manager, Stuart Grobbelaar said this project will empower the community.
“This innovative project represents a collaborative effort to address security challenges, improve visitor experiences, and empower the Stellenbosch community. By enhancing the professionalism and effectiveness of informal parking attendants, the initiative aims to create a secure and welcoming environment for all,” Grobbelaar said.