The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, reminds all neighbourhood watches (NHW) accredited with the Department of Community Safety to approach the Department to obtain the necessary permit to patrol, should they wish to do so.
To date, 147 of the 322 accredited NHWs, or 45.65%, have applied and received the necessary permits. Minister Fritz therefore reiterates his calls on the chairpersons of accredited NHWs to enquire with the Department's NHW unit to issue new permits to operate during curfew hours between 9pm and 6am.
Minister Fritz said, "The work that our NHWs do in keeping our communities safe is crucial. I therefore call on all accredited NHWs to ensure that they are in possession of the relevant documentation so that they continue to do this work, while abiding to the law."
In December, Minister Fritz consulted with SAPS in the Western Cape and confirmed that accredited NHWs may patrol under the new set of regulations.
Minister Fritz said, "After consultation with SAPS legal Services, SAPS in the Western Cape confirmed that under the Adjusted Alert Level 3 Regulations that NHWs can function, provided all relevant protocols are adhered to. To do so, NHWs must be issued with permits and on their person at all times whilst performing duties."
The Department of Community Safety has since received the permit template which is being used to issue permits to accredited NHWs.
Minister Fritz added, "The previously issued permits are however no longer valid as the Regulation, as promulgated in Government Gazette no 11217 dated 29 December, has changed. The new Regulation in terms of Movement of persons is Regulation 33(1) (b) read with Regulation 82(1) (b)."
Minister Fritz continued, "NHWs can continue to utilize the permit as provided by the Department of Community Safety to patrol. It is essential that NHWs continue to patrol during the curfew hours as we know that these are the times in which crimes such as robberies and burglaries take place."
Should you have any further questions on whether your NHW structure can operate or on obtaining permits for members of your accredited NHW structure, you may contact the Department of Community Safety's NHW unit by emailing Neighbourhood.Watch@westerncape.gov.za.
Minister Fritz concluded, "At the same time, I urge our NHW members to take every precaution and protect themselves against infection and transmission of Covid-19. This includes taking practical steps such as ensuring patrol vehicles do not transport more than the prescribed number of passengers, ensuring that patrollers wear masks correctly and sanitising regularly, and maintaining a safe social distance while out on patrol."