NHW Safety Improvement Volunteers Project Launch
SPEECH BY ALBERT FRITZ
WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF COMMUNITY SAFETY
Saturday, 11 July 2020
NHW Safety Improvement Volunteers Project Launch
Khayelitsha Training Centre and Microsoft Teams
09:00 – 11:00
It is my pleasure to join you all today, virtually, for the launch of the Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) Safety Improvement Volunteers Project with Covid-19 relief measures in Khayelitsha. Today signals the deployment of 15 NHWs in Khayelitsha.
My Department has been hard at work since the begin of the crisis reconceptualizing how NHWs can best be used to respond to the pandemic and to flatten the curve.
For that reason, I would like to begin by acknowledging the tremendous efforts of my Departmental officials, under the leadership of Director Han-Marie Marshall, for making this launch and project possible. I am informed that some officials would send emails as late as midnight to their colleagues, working hard to ensure this project’s success! I further wish to thank them for their innovation in ensuring that attendees can join in person, on Microsoft Teams and on Facebook.
I welcome all attendees here with us today across each and every platform.
I further wish to acknowledge the delegates who have made themselves available today. Welcome to Brigadier Tania Hosking and Major General Manci who have joined us today from SAPS. I welcome CPF Chairperson Funeka Soldaat, Cllr Mzwakhe Nqavashe and further wish to acknowledge the representatives from the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) Mr Tyhido, Mr Nhonho, Mr Mthethe and Mr Monde. In addition, I acknowledge officials from the City of Cape Town, and the various NHW chairpeople and members here with us today. Your support and attendance are greatly valued.
Purpose of the NHW programme
The NHW Safety Improvement Volunteers programme aims to provide health advocacy through the promotion of social distancing and utilising personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and hand sanitiser. At its core, this programme aims to instill behavioral changes by increasing civil compliance with social distancing and other relevant lockdown regulations in places of congregations including shops, health centers, recreational areas, SASSA payout points and relief points, transport interchanges and schools.
The success of this project will be measured by its ability to affect positive behavioural change to reduce community transmission and flatten the curve. Practically speaking, our NHW members will take it upon themselves to instill the six golden rules of hygiene in our communities, namely:
- Sick? Stay home.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Maintaining a safe social distance.
- Wear a mask.
- Wash your hands.
- Disinfect all surfaces.
Targeted Covid-19 hotspot plan
This project is born out the Western Cape Government’s targeted hotspot strategy which includes many programmes and projects aimed at creating awareness and reducing the spread of Covid-19 in densely populated areas most affected by the virus. The Department of Community has been appointed as the anchor Department in responding in Khayelitsha, whilst working closely with various levels of government and provincial departments.
The programme itself is a pilot which is projected to run for six months. We want to ensure that is a success and will therefore review its effectiveness at its thee-month mark. As a Department, we will facilitate funding support for accredited and approved NHW structures in identified Covid-19 hotspot areas. The implementation period for this programme will be between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020, subject to the need and ability of the Department. Ensuring that we stop the spread of Covid-19 is our top priority and we have allocated approximately R3million to achieve this end through our NHW deployments.
The NHWs here today should feel an immense sense of pride. Not just any NHW was approved for the programme. The chairpeople here today know this as their applications were scrutinized by a panel, consisting of officials from SAPS, the Department and the City of Cape Town, on 24 June. Their applications had to show that they were accredited, were fully aware of Covid-19, were able to support schools, were supported by SAPS and their CPF and are currently assisting in the fight against Covid-19. Well done to you all!
In total, we received 22 applications from NHWs wishing to operate in the Khayelitsha area which were checked against the criterion I mentioned. Of the 22, 15 met the criteria and will be deployed in Khayelitsha. In time, this programme will be expanded to support an additional 23 NHWs in the Eastern, Tygerberg, Klipfontein and Southern hotspot areas.
In total, this programme will see forty-two accredited and screened NHWs will be supported with funding. Approximately 2 NHWs per precinct will receive funding and 12 NHWs will be based at schools. This is subject to the need in the community and Departmental funding. A minimum of 12 patrolling shifts will be implemented per month with between 10 and 12 members deployed.
An important aspect of this project is that the deployment of NHWs will be evidence-driven and data-led. NHWs will be placed in areas identified through a community mapping process which will involve key stakeholders in the 21 precincts. It is important to note that the process of identifying points of congregation is community-led and not top-down. We value the contribution of community stakeholders who best understand the lived reality of Khayelitsha and her challenges.
I further wish to acknowledge stakeholders including the NHWs, KDF, CPF, Doctors without borders, the City of Cape Town and SAPS without whom this project could not have been initiated or sustained. Our stakeholders are playing role in stopping the spread of Covid-19 and flattening the curve.
As mentioned, this deployment will be data-led. This also means that the deployment areas of our volunteers are not fixed and may be amended or changed to respond to flare-ups. In doing so, we are ensuring a responsive and flexible approach to the pandemic.
Crucial to this deployment is ensuring that our NHW members are accountable and competent. We have put in place a stringent three-tiered monitoring and evaluation system consisting of:
- Level 1: NHW Chairpeople/Co-coordinator who will be responsible for the patrolling, placement planning and reporting of lags. They must maintain daily logs;
- Level 2: The head of the placement institution is responsible for verifying the logs daily or may delegate their representative to do so and should inform the NHW Chairperson and Department accordingly; and
- Level 3: unannounced Departmental visits will ensure monitoring and utilizing a tool template provided by the Department.
The screening and adjudication of the NHWs was conducted by DOCS, COCT and SAPS. The volunteers will report on their activities within the 21 local policing precincts, where the hotspots are located. Should you need to find out more, please do reach out to the Department’s NHW unit.
Today, we will be launching the NHW Safety Improvement Volunteers Project with Covid-19 relief measures in Khayelitsha by equipping NHWs with a starter kit consisting of PPE and, where possible, free data will be provided to ensure real time communications between members. This is a tremendous innovation for the work we do as a Department and with NHWs, bringing our NHWs into the future.
I wish our NHW members luck as they embark on this important work to change the hearts and minds of residents in Khayelitsha to adhere to six golden rules of hygiene. Your work will remind people to take the necessary precautions to save not only their lives but also the lives of their loved ones.
I thank you.