“We hope to see more organisations, individuals, and yes, even the government practically and effectively serving in their communities daily, not only on Mandela Day,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society.
Today Action Society gave much more than 67 minutes to celebrate Mandela Day. The day started before the sun rose when Cameron and Action Society’s Action Centre coordinator, Kaylynn Palm, joined the Lentegeur Sector 2 Neighbourhood Watch members in their blue tracksuits on patrol. This area is one of the hotspots where gang violence is rife.
Neighbourhood Watch Chairperson Glenda Arendse said members are on the road from 5 am to ensure working residents are not robbed and are safe while waiting for public transport.
The safety group operates with limited resources in the mornings and evenings, aiming to keep their community safe. Arendse said crime is a huge challenge in their area, so it’s crucial for them to step up.
“We have received complaints about people waiting for busses and the Uber drivers getting robbed, and that is why we are on the road this early. If something happens, we are here to respond,” she said. “We also have members who are close to schools because we have parents dropping their children off at schools early. To ensure that the area is safe, we also have someone moving around on a bicycle so that we can respond fast,” she said.
Action Society also joined neighbourhood watches in Gugulethu. Crime is a massive concern in the area, and residents asked Action Society to join their patrol. During the patrol, Cameron met with community safety leaders to mobilise safety training and patrols to combat violence in the area.
At the invitation of the DA’s Federal leader John Steenhuisen and the Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Reagen Allen, Action Society joined an operation to clean up and decorate a stretch of walls in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain. These walls have, over the years, become defaced by gangster insignia as they tried to stake their claim across several Cape Town communities. According to Steenhuisen, this section will, in future, become part of a green corridor linking public spaces.
Action Society helped the GBV centre Philisa Abafazi Bethu to feed the vulnerable in Lavender Hill around noon. Hundreds of people, including the elderly and children, stood in the queue in the cold and rain with their empty colourful bowls, waiting for food. They also received cupcakes as a treat.
See pictures of the day here