Traffic Services, Law Enforcement Units, Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management, as well as Safety and Security officials of the Overstrand Municipality joined forces in launching the 2023/24 Festive Season Operational Plan in Hermanus on 4 December 2023.
The safer festive season operations will focus on heightened visibility to deter unlawful actions and intensified crime prevention operations with regular roadblocks and stop and searches. Overstrand Firefighters also put a great deal of effort into preparation for the fire season, which officially kicked off on 1 November.
In her keynote address at the launch, Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, shared her concerns about the cost of diesel for the generators during load-shedding, overtime, and the issue of crime prevention and policing that are not municipal functions but where the Overstrand Municipality is continuously making resources available for safety for all who live and visit here.
She also expressed concern about the ‘increase of by-law infringements’ that saw Law Enforcement members respond to 31 956 incidents in the previous season. To combat this, she said, the Municipality has committed additional funding to grow Law Enforcement’s capabilities despite being under financial pressure.
Mayor Rabie assured the officials that they will not be the only ones hard at work during the festive season as members of the council will not be going into recess but will be working and maintaining high visibility throughout the holiday season, to ‘see for ourselves’.
She urged everyone, members of the public included, to not turn a blind eye to any wrongdoing, but to report it immediately: ‘if you see something, say something!’
On a lighter note, the Mayor praised the Hawston based Lt Noël Dreyer and his team who head up the TS Birkenhead Sea Cadets, who joined the programme and put in so much effort into their march. “You are making a positive difference in these children’s lives, and I thank you for that.”
Deputy Mayor Lindile Ntsabo and the Mayoral Committee Member (MMC) responsible for Protection Services, assured residents, holiday makers and businesses operating in the Overstrand, of the Municipality’s unwavering commitment to ensure their safety.
He said the respective central business districts (CBDs) and Blue Flag beach safety are a priority. He advised communities to comply with the municipal by-laws and reminded the law enforcement officers to stay away from temptation and accepting bribes.
Neville Michaels, Director of Protection Services, said his directorate will be taking a “zero tolerance approach” when it comes to safety – on and off the road – during this period.
He emphasised that the Safety Plan would only succeed if they work as a collective. “We cannot do this alone – we need assistance from the community to take care of their belongings, as it will lighten the task of us, SAPS, neighbourhood watches, security firms and other role players so that they can focus on crime prevention and patrols”.
This sentiment was echoed by Leon Rauch of Hermanus Public Protection (HPP) who said they are committed to playing their part in the Safer Festive Season Operational Plan by contributing as follows:
- HPP to extend services from 15 December 2023 to 15 January 2024
- Up to nine HPP foot patrol officers will patrol from 05:30 – 20:00
- Up to four night-guards will conduct overnight patrols
- The CCTV network of 70 cameras will be constantly operational, backed by the HPP control room that will be manned 24/7
- Additional bike patrols will operate on bin collection days, aiming to manage an expected upsurge in bin pickers in suburban areas
- Regular vehicle patrols of the Hermanus CBD and surrounding suburbs
- Cleaning services along the Cliff Path, Hoy’s Koppie and other areas on request
SAPS District Commissioner for the Overberg, Major- General Miriam Mochologi, also pledged her support in joining forces in the fight against crime. She said the Police will intensify patrols in hotspot areas and they are planning to deploy new constables to enhance police visibility. She went on to emphasise that the police will ‘leave no stone unturned’ when it comes to fighting gender-based violence (GBV), abuse of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, and the increasing number in child rapes.
This year’s Safety Plan was applauded by Councillor Clinton Lerm as MMC of Investment, Infrastructure and Tourism, when he emphasised the importance of safety and security officers as they are often the first line of defence. “In addition to their protection role, they also serve as tourism ambassadors for the area”.
In closing, Mayco Member of Finance, Councillor Stephen Williams, acknowledged the families of staff who work around the clock to keep everybody safe by thanking them for the supporting role.