Volunteers on the beat to keep beaches safe

Uzola Mdatulwa and Norman Mzantsi.

This year’s Beach Safety Project in Hout Bay will, for the first time, include volunteers from Imizamo Yethu.

Their presence will bolster the efforts of volunteers drawn from the ranks of the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch, working in collabora-
tion with City law enforcement, the police, NSRI, and various security firms.

The project will run for six weeks, from Wednesday December 7 to Wednesday January 18, and volunteers will patrol the beaches in two-hour shifts to help keep swimmers safe.

Project co-ordinator Tammy Matthysen asked the Imizamo Yethu Neighbourhood Watch (IYNW) whether it was prepared to con-
tribute volunteers to the programme.

“Fifteen youngsters have come forward and signed up for the programme,” said IYNW’s Uzola Mdatulwa.

“We work a lot with youngsters trying to keep them off the streets, so keeping them busy with projects like this is very important. It will put them on the right track in life.”

IYNW officer Norman Mzantsi said the youngsters would shadow experienced volunteers throughout the summer.

“If you can help people, you must. A lot of these kids have been victims of crime themselves, so it is good that they will be able to help others stay safe on the beaches.”

Another experienced volunteer, Vincent Sodladla, will be watching hiking trails during the summer, as hikers had fallen prey to criminals on them in the past.

Ms Matthysen is happy to have the Imizamo Yethu contingent on board.

“Law Enforcement will work from 8am to 8pm, while volunteer patrols, will take place from sunrise to 6pm.”

Ms Matthysen was also excited about the introduction of dog handlers to the project this year.

“They will be patrolling the dunes and slipways to provide extra protection this summer,” she said.

A local restaurant has agreed to donate a R100 voucher for every patroller who completes two or more patrols on the beach this season, and Ms Matthysen has appealed to other businesses to come up with similar incentives.

“There will be a get-together before the season kicks off to go over procedures and to ‘meet ‘* greet’ fellow patrollers, security companies and SAPS members. It’s a great way to get out the house, meet the locals and our many visitors to Hout Bay,” she said.

To get involved in this project as a patroller or as a sponsor, email Ms Matthysen at beach@hbnw.co.za or call her on 061 913 7151.