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Neighbourhood watches allowed to operate under level 3 lockdown

For weeks, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz had been pleading with national government to allow these structures to support authorities.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Neighbourhood watches have been given the green light to operate under level 3 lockdown and would assist in COVID-19 enforcement.

For weeks, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz had been pleading with national government to allow these structures to support authorities.

The MEC on Wednesday said they had received feedback from the national secretary of police, which confirmed restrictions on neighbourhood watches had been lifted.

Neighbourhood watches were eager to promote social distancing at places where people gathered and queued.

However, the Wetton neighbourhood watch’s Garry Kinnes said they would only become operational once they had received information in writing.

“We would certainly consider it, but we would need to be visible to the community in order to administer some control, for example, by wearing reflective gear,” he said.

The Lenteguer Community Policing Forum’s Byron de Villiers said neighbourhood watches fell under their structures.

He said there was no official notice yet.

“Our neighbourhood watches do want to go out, but gang violence remains a concern,” De Villiers said.

The Department of Community Safety said it would provide cloth masks and hand sanitisers, as well as set the number of people permitted to operate.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.