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Coronavirus - South Africa: Western Cape Community Safety’s response to Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis

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Under the leadership of the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) has evolved its programmes to successfully respond to the COVID-19 crisis and related disaster management regulations.

Amongst the core programmes within DoCS’ response include the Chrysalis Academy, the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO), the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA), the Western Cape Safety Plan’s Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (LEAP) and DoCS’ Provincial Security Provisioning services.

  1. Chrysalis Academy

During the Lockdown, the Chrysalis Academy’s Extended Management have met weekly, ensuring that the following has been achieved: 

  • Monitoring and tracking graduates to determine how they are coping in their placements and checking in on their psycho-social wellbeing.
  • Graduates who have indicated that they need assistance have been referred for counselling to the Chrysalis Academy Life Coaching unit. The Academy’s Life Coach and Social Worker have provided counselling via WhatsApp and telephonic counselling.
  • Our coaching team in partnership with WOW Western Cape has developed exercise clips for the general public that will be screened soon. 
  • The Academy has supported graduates who have struggled with severe food insecurity.
  • The annual audit for 2019/2020 started in April and is near completion.
  • The Chrysalis Academy Annual report for 2019/2020 is near completion.
  • The Academy has compiled our quarterly report for donors and partners.  

Minister Fritz said, “Chrysalis Academy have been able to continue working while supporting the wellbeing of their students and graduates. They have further adapted their programmes to better to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Specific adaptation strategies to manage the pandemic include:

  • The Academy has developed and analysed two surveys among graduates to assess their online teaching needs which has been used to guide the Academy, should they not be able to teach in person.  The survey results showed a positive response to online teaching.
  • Online teaching content is being created and staff members are being trained to provide online training.
  • The Academy has established the Resource Hub for Youth Hub ambassadors to access information on the Chrysalis Academy’s programme and information brochures on youth development.
  • Implementation plans have been drafted for the first intake of the new financial year.  This implementation plan, accompanied by protocols, will enable the Academy to navigate its courses safely during the pandemic.  It will consist of mapping spaces in the rooms, dining halls and training venues to enable safe social distancing. PPE has been procured for staff and students.   
  • Western Cape Police Ombudsman

Minister Fritz said, “During the lockdown, we have seen numerous reports of police brutality and unprofessionalism. The Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) has been an essential partner in addressing these concerns.”

The WCPO remains committed to providing a seamless service and for this reason they continue to encourage complainants to lodge their complaints by email, telephone or using their website.

The WCPO’s office has continued to provide its crucial services and adapted its services as needed by implementing the following steps:

  • A duty roster has been established whereby one Investigating Officer is on call to manage the diverted calls from their switchboard. 
  • Should the need arise, the Investigating Officer on duty will go into office to assist walk-in complainants by appointment only once the office is PPE compliant.
  • The WCPO has continued its radio and digital advertising campaign on the services it renders to members of the public to address police inefficiencies.

  1. Western Cape Liquor Authority

As of Monday 1 June, the sale of alcohol was again permitted. It was stated that licensed premises may sell liquor from Monday to Thursday, excluding Friday to Sunday and public holidays. Liquor may only be sold between 9:00 – 17:00 and may not be consumed on premises. 

Minister Fritz said, “Through the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA), my Department will continue to enforce the relevant regulations, with a particular focus on taverns. We know that in our most vulnerable communities, taverns, particularly those which operate unlicensed, play a significant role in perpetuating alcohol related harms which include gender based violence.”

Minister Fritz continued, “The WCLA will continue to work closely with SAPS to report unlicensed premises and ensure the necessary action is taken against them which includes paying an admission of guilt fine and the removal of their liquor stock. With regards to licensed taverns, the WCLA will continue to conduct its investigations into licensed premises which do not comply with the regulations and may issue a fine of up to R115 000 or revoke the license of those who do not comply, subject to an investigation.”

Between 23 March and 31 May, the WCLA had investigated a total of 60 cases. Of the 60 cases:

  • 10 remain under investigation;
  • 5 have been referred to SAPS;
  • 3 have been referred to the Liquor Licensing Tribunal; and
  • 30 licenses have been suspended.  
  • Western Cape Safety Plan’s Law Enforcement Advancement Programme  

The purpose of the Western Cape Safety Plan is to halve the murder rate over the next ten years through evidence-led policing and through programmes which address the socio-economic contributors of crime.

Minister Fritz said, “The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting National State of Disaster necessitated a shift in the deployment methodology of Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (LEAP) officers. Consequently, our officers are moving from a cluster-led deployment model to a targeted hotspot-led deployment model, which will simultaneously address crime as and when it emerges.”

Deployed LEAP officers will continue to assist with roadblocks, respond to COVID-19 complaints, issue notices or fines, make arrests and encourage social distancing within the hotspots where they are deployed.

Minister Fritz said, “Between 25 and 31 May, we began deploying our LEAP officers, appointed through the Western Cape Safety Plan, in the province’s targeted COVID-19 hotspot areas including Tygerberg, Western, Khayelitsha and Klipfontein hotspots.”

During this short period, LEAP have successfully:

  • Attended to 19 related complaints;
  • Held 6 roadblocks;
  • Stopped and searched of 816 persons;
  • Searched 33 vehicles; and
  • Issued 380 notices or fines
  • Made 7 arrests related to possession of and dealing narcotics, possession of stolen property; producing a false name and address; and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.  
  • Provincial Security Provisioning/Private Security

The DoCS’ Directorate of Provincial Security Provisioning (PSP) established a Rapid Response Team to assess the security needs and levels of compliance to COVID-19 safety and security protocols at various health institutions in conjunction with the Department of Health (DoH).

The PSP has supported DOCS’ COVID-19 response by:

  • Establishing the Rapid Response Team to assist urgent short-term needs arising during the lockdown period, while also performing a monitoring and evaluation function of the fourteen DoH facilities where DoCS’ private security officers have been deployed. These facilities include: Kraaifontein Community Health Clinic (CHC), Maitland CHC, Kensington CHC, Scottsdene CHC, Inzama Zabantu CDC, Karl Bremmer Hospital and Mitchells Plain Hospital.
  • The Security Support Team (SST) was deployed to the Disaster Management Centre and the Tygerberg Hospital Breastfeeding Clinic on a 24/7 basis to ensure the integrity of operations and to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
  • The Security Contract Provisioning team assisted DoH to conduct three Risk Self Assessments at Red Cross Hospital and at two of its field hospitals.
  • The Directorate ensured a 24/7 presence at the Provincial Joint Operations Centre (PROV-JOC) to ensure effective liaison and to ensure that queries and complaints with regards to COVID-9 are followed up.
  • Provincial Security Operations have played a critical role in safeguarding foreign nationals awaiting repatriation. The directorate also rendered security services at the arrival and induction of the Cuban Medical Team.

Issued by:  Western Cape Community Safety  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.