Overstrand Municipality welcomes new Rural Safety Unit

Overstrand Municipality welcomes new Rural Safety Unit

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.

Johan du Toit, Assistant Chief: Overstrand Law Enforcement and Task Team, Caledon Traffic Chief, Thembile Qunta, Councillor Msa Nomatiti, Overberg District Municipality Councillor Archie Klaas, Mayco member Alderlady Elnora Gillion, Ward 11 Councillor Steven Fourie, Overstrand Executive Mayor Dr Annelie Rabie, Senior Manager: Traffic, Law Enforcement & Task Team Rudi Fraser, Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen, Deputy Mayor Councillor Lindile Ntsabo, Director for Protection Services, Neville Michaels, Mayco member Councillor Ronald Nutt, Ward 9 Councillor Grant Cohen, Overberg Police Cluster Commander Brigadier Donovan Heilbron and Advocate Yashina Pillay as the HoD for the Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety.

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. 

Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen with Overstrand Municipality’s Law Enforcement teams.

“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.

These young men and women form part of the newly established Overstrand Rural Safety Unit. They graduated from the Chrysalis Academy leadership development programme. The programme is another initiative of the Western Cape Government's Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety in partnership with Overstrand Municipality and is very close to the heart of Advocate Yashina Pillay as the HoD for the Department. Since the inception of the programme in 2015, Overstrand Municipality provided employment opportunities to approximately 300 youths from the area. Several former interns (students) are permanently employed or have fixed contracts with the Municipality and/or in the public sector. This learnership programme enables young people to participate in a three-month Youth Programme, whereafter the students are placed at Overstrand Municipality for 12 months to gain hands-on work experience and exposure to the different departments within the Protection Services Directorate. Seen here with Advocate Yashina Pillay (left) are A Stoffels, G Bester, A Makhendlana, J Swartz, J James, G Mahoney, T Clarke and E Hansen. In front is E Prince, R Telling, R Dickson and N Ramba.

“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.

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