Safety and security will be the name of the game this season after the establishment of a public safety task team comprising all the relevant role-players. The aim of the task team is to implement an integrated operational grid plan to ensure the safety of residents and tourists alike this season.
The task team was formed during a meeting on Wednesday, 11 December at the Windsor Hotel that was attended by, amongst others, SAPS, the Community Police Forum (CPF), Hermanus Public Protection (HPP),local law enforcement, the traffic department, AfriForum, several neighbourhood watches and representatives of business.
The integrated operational plan kicked off on Friday with the first shift of the new car watchers (Click here to read the full story) as well as increased visible policing in Hermanus Old Town and along the Cliff Path from Gearings Point to the New Harbour.
According to Neville Michaels, Director: Protection Services of the Overstrand Municipality, all municipal law enforcement personnel, including the traffic department, will do foot patrols along the Cliff Path, in the Old Town and on Grotto beach. The municipal Law Enforcement Task Team will also do foot patrols and assist the SAPS with anti-poaching activities.
“Every tourist who visits our shores is responsible for the creation of four to five jobs, so we need to ensure that all tourist attractions are as safe as possible. There has been an increase in the number of ‘bergies’ (vagrants) in the last few weeks. The problem is that many of them are not real ‘bergies’ but rather gang members from the 26s and 27s gangs that are here to only mug and rob. It is our task as a community to work together to stop this in its tracks. This can only be done by sharing resources and information in order to be as effective as possible,” Michaels said.
Lt Col Muneeb Africa of the SAPS said there has been a marked increase in the number of business robberies, especially during load-shedding. “Business owners need to be aware of who are in their shops and why they are there, especially during load-shedding. It might also be worthwhile for businesses to invest in shutter doors that are closed at night as smash-and-grab robberies are on the increase, especially after hours,” he said.
According to Errol van Staden of HPP, the newly-appointed car watchers will also assist with keeping the area clean. “We have received a donation of R3 000 from a benefactor to incentivise the car watchers to keep the area where they work clean and tidy.”
In addition, the District Festive Season Road Safety Plan was also launched last week. The primary objective of this plan is to reduce road accident fatalities.
“We want motorists to know that we will be out there – the Overberg District has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards any motorist who breaks the law,” said Overstrand Mayor, Dudley Coetzee.
Coetzee said it breaks his heart that the Overstrand has not had an auspicious start to the holiday season. “Already, several innocent lives have been lost due to a horrendous road accident right in the middle of Kleinmond’s Main Road. It is my fervent wish that this campaign will compel road users to abide by traffic laws and to behave responsibly whenever they take to the road.” he said.
He reminded motorists to expect to be submitted to random breathalyser tests anywhere, anytime along any road in the area.