Watch receives award for courage

The Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch walked away with the courage in action award at the neighbourhood watch awards last week.

The Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) walked away with the courage in action award at the first joint neighbourhood watch awards ceremony hosted by the City of Cape Town and the provincial Department of Community Safety.

There are more than 130 accredited neighbourhood watches in the City of Cape Town’s metropolitan area and more than 200 accredited neighbourhood watches across the province.

The event was held at the Cape Town Civic Centre on Monday March 26 and is set to become an annual event.

More than 80 NHW structures and members were nominated for the 34 awards which were split into three broad categories which recognised and celebrated teams of distinction (bronze awards), individual excellence (silver awards), as well as outstanding achievement awards (gold awards)

Blomvlei Neighbourhood Watch chairperson, Sadeeka Valentine, said the watch had been running for six years now and that the team, made up of 30 members, were very happy to receive the award.

“It was a very exciting experience to be a part of. While it is very challenging to be the chairperson of a neighbourhood watch in such an area, we all respect each other and have a great bond. We work together and patrol every night,” she said.

Also among the winners were neighbourhood watches involved in focused community safety projects, in specific neighbourhoods.

Community volunteers from eight areas were commended for their dedicated participation in the Walking Bus initiative, including Nyanga, Bonteheuwel, Khayelitsha (Site C), Kraaifontein, Valhalla Park, Happy Valley, Pelican Park (New Horizon) and Mfuleni.

The City’s Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, thanked the various neighbourhood watch members for their dedication to the community.

“What we are seeing is a community-led initiative around community policing. With as many as 20 000 trained neighbourhood watch members in the City and probably closer to 50 000 neighbourhood watch volunteers in some form or another active in our communities, you are at the forefront of improving safety in our communities and often teach both the City and police valuable lessons in community intelligence led policing.

“Our partnerships with each other, including the Western Cape government, keep on growing and we will keep trying to find new ways of supporting our valued neighbourhood watches.

“Our job must be to roll the obstacles out of your way for you to continue to grow in service of your community and for us to support you through that,” he said.

Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, said neighbourhood watches played a pivotal role in the fight against crime.

“We rely on you as ordinary residents in our communities to help keep us safe. Working under the auspices of the Western Cape Community Safety Act, the Western Cape government continuously looks for ways to better support and develop our neighbourhood watches – not only in the city but across the province.

“To this extent, we are looking to accredit another 100 neighbourhood watch structures in the year to come and are setting aside more than R2.5 million for training and equipping our neighbourhood watch structures in the province,” he said.

Prize winners also received extra equipment for members to use in the execution of their duties. This included first aid kits, torches, floodlights and two-way radios.