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City expands NHW recruitment for DRM volunteers in aid of COVID-19 response

City expands NHW recruitment for DRM volunteers in aid of COVID-19 response

by City of Cape Town
17 May 2020

The City is actively ramping up its Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Volunteer corps to ensure that this resource is evenly spread across the metropole.

Since the launch of an initiative in April to recruit Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Members as volunteers to assist with the many priorities brought about by the national lockdown, the City has signed up nearly 500 individuals from 58 accredited Neighbourhood Watch organisations.

Since their training and deployment, these individuals have lent crucial support to the City’s COVID-19 efforts, by helping to maintain social distancing at shops, Public Transport Interchanges, clinics and hospitals, feeding schemes and other places where people have had to congregate.

While NHWs are not allowed to operate in terms of the lockdown, their presence in communities as volunteers has also allowed them to act as the eyes and ears for our policing approach.

The City understands the pressures being placed on its policing staff to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown regulations. While our staff are supporting SAPS in the enforcement of national regulations, we feel that there is more we can do to help protect our residents in Cape Town, and this is where our volunteer corps has plugged a crucial gap.

While much is being said about the potential easing of the lockdown regulations, the reality is that social distancing and other protocols put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 will remain with us for a long time to come, and we need as many people on the frontline, helping to ensure compliance, but also assisting our most vulnerable communities during these challenging times.

I want to really thank the Neighbourhood Watches who have thus far stepped up to help out during this disaster. The City will be using its Community Safety Liaison Officers to identify accredited NHWs in underserved areas, and engage them about signing up as Disaster Risk Management Volunteers.

We have many longstanding DRM volunteers who have welcomed the new recruits into the fold, and are assisting with training and deployment of new members.

All new recruits will be issued with permits, Personal Protective Equipment and bibs to enable them to function within their community.

I am incredibly proud of the dedication of our volunteers, both old and new. They have taken the pressure off other frontline services and have shown what can be accomplished if we all work towards a common goal.

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Media enquiries: Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town, Tel: 
021 400 1311 or Cell: 083 675 3780, Email: jean-pierre.smith@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)

Tags: COVID-19 coronavirus City of Cape Town