Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie and her Mayoral Committee team were delighted to act as hosts at the official launch of the Overstrand Rural Safety Unit (ORSU) on 5 April 2023.
She welcomed 17 young men and women in blue (three officers still to be appointed) who will be joining the elite Task Team, K9 and Rapid Response Units of the Overstrand Municipal Protection Services Directorate to serve as crime fighting force multipliers to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other role players.
The unit will be based in the Overstrand area but will be operational throughout the Overberg District to ensure greater safety is achieved for all communities in the wider area, where both human and marine life can be protected.
In his keynote speech at the launch ceremony, Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, explained that the process to get ORSU up and running commenced in 2021.
“Since then, the Western Cape Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety has invested just over R9 million in this unit. For the 2023/24 financial year, a further R 9.5 million has been set aside for both the Swartland and Overstrand Rural Safety Units,” he added.
Minister Allen said the unit should serve as proof to the communities in the Overberg of the Provincial Government’s dedication to ensuring greater safety throughout the Province.
“Units like the Overstrand Rural Safety Unit are important to ensure more boots on the ground to fight crime in rural areas; with our success stories we will continue making the lives of criminals deeply uncomfortable,” he added.
The Minister emphasised that co-ordination and collaboration between various law enforcement agencies, including the police, community police forums and neighbourhood watches, is key to reducing the crime rate.
“Not only will this Overstrand Rural Safety Unit strengthen the work that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is doing, but it will be of great significance to the already established Overstrand K9 unit in the area. They will also provide assistance to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to curb the illegal trade of abalone, crayfish and other marine products”.
“I urge the broader community to work with this unit and all other law enforcement agencies, so that criminal activities can be removed from our areas,” Minister Allen concluded.
Mayor Annelie Rabie reiterated this, saying that more criminals seem to be fleeing to rural areas as a result of increased and improved actions taken to address gangsterism and crime in the metropole.
“I am especially concerned about people living in remote areas where they are more vulnerable to attacks,” she stated.
During the launch, the various Law Enforcement units gave a brief demonstration of their capabilities in addressing issues such as land invasion and how they incorporate the K9 unit into everyday activities.
Overstrand Assistant Chief for Law Enforcement and Task Team, Johan du Toit, gave the assurance that the Overstrand Rural Safety Unit members will undergo continuous training, including the street survival first responder course to ensure that they are prepared for any eventuality.