More than 400 neighbourhood watch members in the Manenberg police precinct were thanked for their efforts by SAPS and the community police forum during an event held at the Phoenix High School hall.
The precinct includes Heideveld, Welcome Estate, Vanguard Estate, Surrey Estate, Primrose Park, Manenberg and Sherwood Park.
“It is only right that we have to thank them,” said Manenberg CPF chairman Vernon Visagie
The event was held on Saturday July 16.
Manenberg police chief Brigadier Sanele Zama said the partnership between the police and neighbourhood watches was vital to fight crime.
“Neighbourhood watch members are an extension of the long arm of the law. Often they have little or no resources, and they face harsh weather conditions and criminal elements. Some even have to face intimidation and callous acts of violence against them. These brave men and women are from the heart of the community, and it is only fitting that we thank them for their continued efforts to combat crime,” Brigadier Zama said.
“Many avail themselves at all hours of the day and night – come rain or sunshine. They are our unsung heroes. They are our first responders. When the neighbourhood watch is at a crime scene, my members know that it is safe for them to execute their duties because the neighbourhood watch has got their backs – literally. SAPS’s dependence on these crime fighters is paramount in creating a safe space for our community and we should never think that we can fight crime on our own.”
Elizabeth Hendricks, chairwoman of Letaba Neighbourhood Watch, said they appreciated the acknowledgement.
“It means a lot to us. We patrol from early morning, and many times we get out of our warm beds to secure a crime scene. We put up the orange cones, and when SAPS arrives, we just observe.
“Sometimes it gets hectic. What we desperately need are jackets and rain suits, as during this time it’s cold and wet out there. Also, we assist wherever we are needed, not just in our Ward 46. We also believe that your child is my child, and my child is your child. It’s heartbreaking when young people get involved with gangs.”
Vanguard and Welcome Estate Neighbourhood Watch chairman Saleem Orrie said: “Our members make a lot of sacrifices. They leave their families to go out in the cold and wet winter, and often at big risk. I have noticed that there are many more women who are part of neighbourhood watches. One thing I know is that although we are all volunteers, our members are passionate about creating a safe community.”