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WC govt to persist with call for CPFs to help with lockdown enforcement

The Western Cape Community Safety Department wants accredited neighbourhood watches to assist by promoting social distancing at supermarket queues, clinics, hospitals and transport interchanges like taxi ranks.

A member of the South African Police Service (SAPS) enforces social distancing as he makes shoppers hold their hands out in front of them to ensure that they are at least one metre apart from one another while they queue outside a supermarket in Yeoville, Johannesburg, on 28 March 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape government is not dropping its call for neighbourhood watches to assist with lockdown enforcement.

Community Safety MEC Abert Fritz said that Police Minister Bheki Cele had not responded to his letter about the consideration last month.

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has recently stated that community policing forums will be empowered to monitor compliance and enforce regulations.

The Western Cape Community Safety Department wants accredited neighbourhood watches to assist by promoting social distancing at supermarket queues, clinics, hospitals and transport interchanges like taxi ranks.

Department spokesperson Cayla Murray said that there were 322 accredited structures in the province that had already been screened and could be held accountable.

"If permitted to patrol and assist during the lockdown, the Department of Community Safety will ensure that measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that all members are protected when supporting the enforcement of the lockdown."

National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole recently stated that they would soon present a plan to involve community policing forums but there was no mention of neighbourwood watches.

"As we are expecting to go down to level 3, we are going to be presenting an action plan and it will define exactly how the community policing forum activities will be undertaken."