Partnerships bring Mossel Bay and surrounding region state-of-the-art JOC
Joint media release: Partnerships bring Mossel Bay and surrounding region new state-of-the-art Joint Operation Centre.
Today Premier Alan Winde and a delegation of Western Cape Ministers helped open Mossel Bay’s new Joint Operation Centre (JOC).
“To tackle disasters and crime, we need to be constantly at the ready and prepared for anything,” said the Premier at the official opening ceremony today. The Premier expressed his excitement at the opening of the facility: “With this JOC, its impressive equipment, staffed with brave, dedicated firefighters, medical professionals, police officers, IT experts and sea rescue personnel, lives will be saved and the safety of residents improved.”
The Centre had humble beginnings. It started out as 3 containers. But over the past few years, it has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility on 800 square metres, on 3 levels from where safety and emergency services can be centralised and deployed.
The 3 levels consist of:
- Incident analysis, evaluation and control of various stakeholders;
- A management and planning level and
- An operational room.
“This JOC is perfect proof of the importance of partnerships,” added Premier Winde.
It was the brainchild of 5 neighbourhood watch organisations (NHWs) who saw the need for a central location from where emergency operations could be carried out from. The idea took root in 2017 when the NHWs came across a derelict building at the Mossel Bay Golf Estate, owned by the local municipality. From there a budget was drawn up, and planning for refurbishing the building started. By late February 2022 the vision of a professionally-run, fully equipped JOC was realised.
Among the JOC’s features are:
- The Southern Cape South African Police Service radio server is housed at the Centre;
- Mossel Bay currently has a network of 200 CCTV cameras linked to the JOC with more to be connected in the coming months;
- A helipad for two helicopters run on fuel donated by local communities;
- R15 million was spent on making the JOC deaf, blind and wheelchair-friendly for staff with disabilities. It was the specific intent to employ people with disabilities at the Centre.
One of the Premier’s key priorities – which he shares with Mossel Bay Mayor Dirk Kotze – is safety; and this JOC speaks to the need for a professional, efficient disaster management response to keep our communities safe. “It will help save lives,” Premier Winde emphasized.
Mayor Kotze said: “The Joint Operation Centre affirms our commitment to grow safety in Mossel Bay. Community Safety is about peace of mind. Here in Mossel Bay we believe in communities taking ownership of their safety. As local governments we help facilitate the necessary partnerships to support communities taking ownership of their safety. The Joint Operation Centre consolidates these networks of support for community safety.
“We see great value in all our partners. We believe that partners collaborating with the JOC will act as a force multiplier to ensure delivery of community safety and security. We thank Premier Alan Winde and the Provincial Government for their support.”
The Premier stressed: “Clear communication, comprehensive training and high-tech technology are all critical components of effective disaster response. Add to this, sound infrastructure, like this Centre, and this region now has more potent disaster management and crime-fighting and prevention capabilities.”
This facility meets all the needs required to efficiently respond to any kind of eventuality. It will help better coordinate the various strands of disaster risk management. From Disaster Management, at both provincial and municipal levels, and the South African Police Service to Provincial and Municipal Traffic, the Fire Department and the National Sea Rescue Institute, all these services - and more - are housed under one roof.
The Centre is Mossel Bay Municipality’s flagship project. But it is also a vehicle through which to drive other initiatives into the future such as a K9 unit, Land Grab Unit, Air Support Unit, Drone Support, Radio Support, Victim support/empowerment/hostage negotiations, increasing the Municipality’s LEO and Peace Office Programme and training.
It is not just Mossel Bay communities which will benefit from the JOC; residents from surrounding areas will also receive better services thanks to the Centre.
While touring the building, Infrastructure Minister Tertius Simmers stated: “This initiative is a prime example of the excellence that can be achieved through collaboration of our community-based services. The “whole-of-society” approach allows for the partnerships of Neighbourhood Watches, the SAPS and other Law Enforcement agencies, as well as emergency services, all formulated within local and provincial government spheres, focusing on creating safer cities and towns.”
Western Cape Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister Anton Bredell said: “The Western Cape’s disaster management response plan is based on the premise that local authorities report and respond to events, and support is then quickly brought in from other centres. The new JOC will enhance and support this provincial approach to any future disaster event.”
“This Centre epitomises integration and cooperation between the various law enforcement agencies. Having all these entities under one roof is what we need across the Western Cape,” remarked Provincial Police Oversight and Community Safety Minister Reagen Allen. He said Mossel Bay and Garden Route residents can be proud of this centre. This is just another layer of what you get when you are governed by a successful municipality; and shows the cooperative manner in which the SAPS would function across the board when devolved to the Western Cape Government. These initiatives show what can be achieved when all entities work together to combat crime.
Provincial Agriculture Minister Ivan Meyer added: “Rural safety is one of the Ministerial priorities for Agriculture and the Western Cape. The JOC actions this priority at a local level as it will serve rural communities in the region. It brings together like-minded role players eager to collaborate with the sole purpose of making communities safer.”