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COVID-19: WC Safety Dept launches neighbourhood watch project in Khayelitsha

The Safety Improvement Volunteers Project will see members at places of congregation including shops, South African Social Security Agency pay-out points, transport interchanges and schools.

A general view of Khayelitsha, in Cape Town, on 31 March 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Western Cape Community Safety Department has launched a neighbourhood watch project in Khayelitsha.

The Safety Improvement Volunteers Project will see members at places of congregation including shops, South African Social Security Agency pay-out points, transport interchanges and schools.

The township is a COVID-19 hotspot, with more than 7,000 confirmed cases.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said 50 neighbourhood watch groups have been deployed in Khayelitsha.

He said they would provide health advocacy through the promotion of social distancing and the use of masks: “Not a single one in our public must be seen walking without a mask. Masks must become as you put on your underpants and your pants before you go out, so that we stop and fight the infections.”

The pilot project is set to run for six months and will be reviewed after three months.

“We will have monitoring mechanisms in place, to make sure that we don't become vigilante groups, but that you become civil society responsible groups to assist the police in fighting COVID but also fighting crime.

Fritz said his department allocated about R3.5 million to the project.

Neighbourhood watch members have received training from Doctors Without Borders and they’ve been handed starter kits.

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