11 November 2020
For Immediate Release
Media Release: Garden Route District Community Safety Forum established – another first for the Garden Route
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility”
28 October 2020 marked a historic occasion for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) when the GRDM in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, launched the first-ever Garden Route District Community Safety Forum in Mossel Bay. This event follows after several engagements and workshops, including an Alcohol Harms Reduction Work session, a Safety Plan Workshop and a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) workshop in 2019.
In December 2018, the Premier of the Western Cape, Mr Alan Winde, hosted a meeting with District Mayors – and Municipal Managers in the Western Cape. The purpose of the engagement was to introduce the Western Cape Provincial Cabinet’s District Safety Initiative Project, funded by the Department of Community Safety for four years.
Subsequent to the meeting, a Transfer Payment Agreement (TPA) was signed between the municipalities in the district and the Department of Community Safety where after funds were transferred to the GRDM. The TPA obliged the District Municipality to submit safety- and business plans in support of safety initiatives in the district. This approach emphasises the establishment of effective safety structures to facilitate and co-ordination role-players at the district and local municipal level. As part of this agreement, the WC Department of Community Safety will guide and assist each District Municipality with the development of a resilience model, to build safe and cohesive communities, which will be monitored through the municipal safety structures.
The launch was attended by Mayors and Deputy Mayors from across the district, Councillors and representatives from the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, the South African Police Services, Department of Correctional Services, Department of Social Development, Department of Home Affairs, the Provincial Traffic, the District Men’s Sector and senior municipal officials. During the official welcoming address, the GRDM Deputy Executive Mayor, Alderlady Rosina Ruiters, thanked the Western Cape Department of Community Safety for initiating and rolling out the project in the Garden Route and emphasised the critical importance of safety in the district.
Mr Justin Lottring, Deputy Director for Community Police Relations at the Western Cape Department of Community Safety did a presentation on what he called ‘the milestones reached” in leading up to the launch. He gave a brief background report on the progress made since 2018, future plans in terms of safety initiatives in the district and what stakeholders can expect from the Garden Route District Safety Forum. “Today we are pleased to be in a partnership with the GRDM to improve safety in the district. I believe that there is a link between well-being and safety, and that trust clearly influence and flow out of it. If partners don’t trust one another, they wouldn’t be able to work together,” Lottring said.
The GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen during his keynote address was persuasively stated that fighting crime is a collective effort. “What happens after today is the ‘real science’ of what is important. We collectively need to work together and address the current situation of over-crowdedness at correctional facilities within the district,” Alderman Booysen said. He said: “As a District Municipality, we do not want to overstep or interfere in the local municipality’s business. We are aware that some of the municipalities in the district are struggling and for that reason, we want to form partnerships and work together to combat crime.” In conclusion Alderman Booysen thanked stakeholders for their presence and support and said: “Let’s all keep on spreading the message by taking a ‘whole of society’ approach”.
In support of the newly established Forum, the different municipal- and sector department representatives each delivered a short message of support to the District Municipality for leading the district in a safer environment. As a token of their commitment, representatives signed a pledge, manifesting their support and willingness to partner with the GRDM.
As for the way forward, the GRDM will coordinate the establishment of local Community Safety Forums in each Local Municipality in the district to identify, develop and implement safety strategies, safety plans and safety projects. Safety plans will be captured in the IDP processes and existing safety partners will be utilised to assist the GRDM and local municipalities to combat COVID-19 and promote social distancing in the local hotspot areas.