The City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre (DRMC) has put out a call to all neighbourhood watches (NHW) who are accredited with the Department of Community Safety, to consider joining its volunteer database.
This call is specifically linked to the City’s safety and security directorate’s Covid-19 disaster risk management efforts. The areas where DRM volunteers are specifically required to assist are:
Promoting social distancing at supermarket (and other shop) queues
Promoting social distancing at clinics
Promoting social distancing at transport interchanges
Patrolling school grounds to prevent vandalism
It was agreed with NHWs two years ago that the City would deploy them with the next major disaster as part of the disaster relief efforts. This is an opportunity to evolve the City’s relationship with NHWs to the next level and to demonstrate to everyone how versatile and proactive this important sector of community safety is.
Neighbourhood watch members, who want to make themselves available for this purpose, will be provided with the necessary protective equipment and they will be properly briefed by the DRMC.
They will also be formally appointed as DRM volunteers and be provided with the necessary permit to perform these essential services during the lockdown period.
All accredited neighbourhood watches within the City’s boundaries are therefore invited to nominate not more than 10 of their members for appointment as DRM volunteers.
Neighbourhood watch coordinators, and not individual members, must communicate the names and contact details of the volunteers to Charl Viljoen (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will arrange for them to be submitted to the City’s disaster risk management centre.
Once NHWs have submitted the names, the DRMC will make contact with interested members over the next few weeks, as and when the need arises.
Until volunteers have been contacted, briefed and issued for a work permit by DRM, they must refrain from assuming any NHW duties.
The disaster risk management volunteers recruited from neighbourhood watches will be deployed in their home area, as this will promote acceptance by local communities, and will prevent unnecessary logistical arrangements.
This is a call for volunteers only and no remuneration is attached to this initiative.
“The City is grateful that it can call on community members to assist on a voluntary basis. We value your willingness to participate and thank you in advance for selflessly putting yourself forward. Similarly, to those who are staying at home, please know that you are playing an equally big part in preventing the spread of Covid-19,” said JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security.