A team of 100 law enforcement officials that form part of the Neighbourhood Safety Team (NST) will be deployed in Bonteheuwel in June 2019, increasing safety and security measures in the area.

Executive Mayor Dan Plato explains that the NST will aid in preventing crime in the area: “We are committed to building safer communities and this planned deployment underlines this commitment. This Neighbourhood Safety Team will help to address a long-standing need in Bonteheuwel where calls for a dedicated police station have been growing in recent months.”

The deployment and training of these officials has been funded by the Safety and Security Directorate in the City’s January Adjustment Budget. Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith says, “There have been calls for a more sustained policing presence in Bonteheuwel and surrounds and the City is responding to those calls because we care about our communities and are committed to building a safer city for all.”

The NST was first implemented and piloted in Delft in 2017 and has since seen multiple successes. It aims to expand the existing enforcement interventions in specific areas in Cape Town. The NST is made up of a core team of law enforcement officials who are supported by specialised units within the Traffic Service and Metro Police Department.

Smith says the role of the NST goes “beyond policing or enforcement and also tackles other societal issues that, if left unchecked, can fuel crime or anti-social behaviour.

“Staff are expected to address service-related matters, whether broken streetlights or missing drain covers, work with schools and other stakeholders in the areas to address truancy and other challenges, tackle by-law infringements and suppress any other threats to the safety and well-being of the community.”

Law enforcement officials undergoing training in Bonteheuwel.

Between December 2017 and the end of February 2019, the NST team in Delft has achieved: 

– 366 arrests

– 14 firearms and two imitation firearms confiscated

– 20 144 fines issued for traffic by-law transgressions

– 12 331 vehicles stopped

– 1 470 drivers tested

– 860 premises searched

– 25 564 people searched

Plato says that more NST teams may be deployed in other much-needed areas across Cape Town.

“It is not within the City’s power and mandate to deliver a police station, but we are able to provide more municipal policing resources to the area and that is what we are in the process of doing. We are awaiting the finalisation of our draft Budget for the new financial year and if approved by Council, we plan to recruit and deploy at least 200 more enforcement staff in other areas of need in the city,” he says.

Residents are encouraged to play their role in reporting crime in their area in order to uplift their communities.

“We have had some success in Delft, but this is a marathon and not a sprint and much work still lies ahead. We hope to have similar success when the new batch of NST officials hit the streets. It is worth noting that no initiative can reach its full potential, no matter how good the intent, without everyone being on board,” says Smith.

Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith with some of the training officials in Bonteheuwel

Picture: City of Cape Town

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about animals, social issues, the environment and current affairs.