Joint Media Release: Premier appeals to Western Cape residents to celebrate safely and responsibly this festive season
On Saturday, 2 December 2023, Premier Alan Winde and provincial Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, joined several Mitchells Plain Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) groups and South African Police (SAPS) officials on a walkabout in the Eastridge and surrounding areas. Law enforcement agencies and community-based structures are intensifying their safety efforts over this period.
With the festive season upon us, Premier Winde has appealed to all Western Cape residents to celebrate responsibly. “This is a time of joy and inclusion and so we should all show respect for one another,” he said.
Addressing the community crime fighters ahead of the walkabout, Premier Winde thanked them for giving their time freely and willingly to make their communities safer. He continued, “You are change agents in your communities who are striving to make a difference. You are all stepping up to take back our communities from criminals. Our hard-working police officers are stretched to their limit, especially over the festive season, and they need all the assistance that they can get from community structures such as NHWs, along with force multipliers the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Services.
Minister Allen said, “It is vital that we continue to be visible in all our communities. My gratitude goes to all the amazing volunteers, particularly those from the Eastridge, Rocklands, Portlands, Westridge, Tafelsig East and West, Hyde Park and Beacon Valley NHWs and the Community Police Forum (CPF), who are actively contributing to creating safer areas. They are our extra ‘ears and eyes’ who help law enforcement. I want to assure our residents that more patrols and visibility can be expected. There will be a strong focus on raids on ‘drug houses’ to confiscate illicit items and arrest those involved in these activities, while more inspections will occur at liquor outlets to ensure that they are compliant.”
The Premier and Minister Allen then visited the emergency centre (EC) at the Mitchells Plain District Hospital (MPDH). With it being the end of the month, which coincided with the annual Mitchells Plain Festival, healthcare staff were on high alert and the EC was already a hive of activity by the early evening. Within just a few minutes, during the visit, two men were rushed to the hospital with stab wounds. They were quickly and expertly attended to.
MPDH Executive Officer, Evan Swart, told the Premier that during weekends, that of all the patients treated at the facility, between 50% to 60% are trauma-related cases. He added the hospital treats around 5 000 people every month. However, he stressed even in the face of immense challenges, “We all support each other, that is how we cope. We have some of the best doctors and nurses, and we will always do our level best to maintain our standards."
During a tour of the EC, Night Assistant Nursing Manager Sister, Ellaine Piliso, explained her staff are always motivated, but many do come under strain. Sister Piliso commended the local police for all they do for the community and the hospital, in keeping the facility and staff safe.
In December 2022 the hospital’s emergency centre treated 1009 patients for a range of injuries, the vast number of them for stabbings, blunt force assault and motor vehicle accidents. Premier Winde commended Mr. Swart and Sister Piliso for their able hand in running the MPDH. “Your commitment and that of all our healthcare workers in the Western Cape never goes unnoticed, especially at the end of the year. I am very proud of our essential services staff who selflessly serve our communities.”