The Festive Season Operational Launch kicked off to a resounding start and was well received by all who attended the event on Monday, 23 November 2015. The project is the precursor, and the Overstrand Municipality’s specific installment, to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children 2015 campaign that runs from 25 November through to 10 December this year.
It is considered to be a great construct from which a general sense of safety and security can be inculcated amongst communities in the region. More importantly, with the holiday season fast approaching, and the expected influx of visitors to the area, this becomes even more pertinent to the beaches, central business districts, parks and other public spaces. A proactive operational plan, along with the commitment of the law enforcement, security, fire, sea and rescue officials, is imperative in the delivery of an efficient protection and security service during the period.
Needless to say, at best, the work of the personnel involved and their respective agencies is challenging and presents its fair share of trials. However, given the extensive knowledge and experience base of those concerned, coupled to the relevant resources, it is anticipated that the mandate at hand will successfully be met.
In the course of delivering an insightful and thought-provoking presentation on the Project, Senior Firefighter Angelo Aplon stated, “Relations and entrenching a climate of collaboration between the protective service agencies and the communities is vital to creating a safer environment. This sense of togetherness, in turn, speaks to the theme of the 2015 16 Days of Activism Campaign: “Count me in: together moving a non-violent South Africa forward.”
Executive Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie, echoed Aplon’s sentiments in her keynote address, saying “The Festive Season Operational Project can leverage off the symbiotic by-products and value envisaged of a partnership approach between communities and various levels of public entities. Heightened awareness, a positive change in behavior and the responsible use of public amenities are the much sought after end result – and this is ultimately what we seek to achieve through campaigns of this nature.”
During the season, all efforts and resources will be centred on establishing a sense of mindfulness amongst the public of specific safety and security concerns.
To this end, a number of essential criteria will need to be enforced by the various safety and security agencies, i.e.:
- Visible policing and increased law enforcement presence with a zero tolerance approach;
- Establish the means to reduce criminal activities at the beaches and in the communities;
- Create opportunities for communities to get involved in anti-crime initiatives;
- Pamphleteering of safety tips on how to reduce the possibility of being a victim;
- Involve and engage young people in alternative activities to stymie the urge for involvement in crime;
- Re-enforce law enforcement initiatives;
- Increased involvement between the agencies to demonstrate synergy and combined efforts to combat crime;
- Establish a joint operational centre (JOC) to assist the Protection Services Directorate in coordinating effective responses for managing of emergencies.
The enhancement of relationships with stakeholders that form part of an already established partnership with Overstrand Municipality such as the NSRI, SAPS, Security Agencies, Provincial Traffic, National Prosecuting Authority, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Policing Forums, is also imperative.
The Municipality looks forward to working with all the parties to establish a safe and secure environment in the Overstrand during the Season and beyond; where the government, private sector and civil society will each assume their share of responsibility and fulfill their respective roles in the quest to delivering a successful campaign to its people.
In closing, Director of Protection Services, Neville Michaels handed over the official Operational Grid Plan - as it applies - to the Mayor and respective Heads of the Agencies. These Plans would inform, and be the basis from which the Municipality and Protection and Security Agencies would operate, enforce and enact the Festive Seasonal Operational Project.