GEORGE NEWS - All eyes are on community safety with neighbourhood watches as the kingpins for the strategic prevention of crime. With a healthy sum of R1,2-million from the Provincial Department of Community Safety and additional funding in the pipeline, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is geared to give financial backing to several community and municipal projects aimed at making the district a safer place.
Garden Route Mayor Memory Booysen invites all registered neighbourhood watches and B-municipalities in the district to submit their safety plans, with the prime focus on crime and crime prevention, to his office in York Street.
"Registered neighbourhood watches will be funded after the submission of their plans and programmes, which should include activism against the abuse of women and children. Those who aren't registered can ask for assistance to start the process. Our focus is on neighbourhood watches, because they know best how to protect the families in their wards," said Booysen.
Furthermore, each B-municipality will receive R50 000 to deal with logistics as soon as they've submitted their plans.
Booysen joined several district mayors last Friday, 8 November, for a safety engagement hosted by Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz at Houw Hoek Hotel in Botrivier.
A total of R5-million was transferred to the district municipalities with additional funds of R30-million available over the next three years. A recent workshop at the same venue, attended by mayors, municipal managers and mayoral committee members from each district municipality and representatives of the City of Cape Town and the South African Local Government Association, aligned the district municipalities' needs with funding and strategy.
'Show us your plans'
The GRDM has a district safety plan which Booysen described as a bird's eye view of processes identified from the Integrated Development Processes (IDP). "What we actually need is each and every municipality to narrow it down to specifics in terms of their safety challenges and we encourage every ward to have an established and registered neighbourhood watch," he said.
Current engagements with Eden Police Cluster Commander Major-Gen Oswald Reddy and the community police forums are identifying the need for mediators, who will help defuse potential violence that might cause instability within neighbourhoods. Funding to train and deploy these mediators is available.
Safety plans can be submitted at the GRDM head office for the attention of Sphiwe Dladla, the district project coordinator.
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