Watch aims to transform neighbourhood

The Green Light Neighbourhood Watch on patrol.

The Green Light Neighbourhood Watch (GLNW), in Lotus River, aims to turn their area into a “leafy” suburb, through upgrading squatter areas, providing safety for school children and uplifting the youth.

GLNW, whose slogan is “Protection by the neighbourhood for the neighbourhood”, recently registered as a non-profit organisation. One of their iniatives involved making soup for disadvantaged people living in 25 shacks in Kalbas Kraal, on the corner of Third Avenue and Lake Roads, Lotus River, on Sunday.

Member Marwaan Isaacs, who came up with the idea to feed the needy during Ramadaan, said: “We patrol in the Kalbas Kraal area and this effort was to get to know the community. We also want to find out what the kids are doing. They have a patch of land which can be used for sports.”

Chairperson Abdullah Haroon Peck said they will investigate the other needs of the residents. “If we see for example, two people walking the streets daily, we will ask how we can help them. We will also look at, helping people who are facing personal problems. We may not be by the means to help someone with a drug problem, but we can refer him or her to a social worker.”

Liezel Petersen who assists people with social problems, said: “I will refer people with problems to the social development facility in Victoria Road, Grassy Park.

“I’ve met with people from Safer House, a lot of kids in our area are doing drugs and if they come forward I can refer them to someone at Safer House to provide counselling for the whole family.”

She said people may need counselling if they are victims of crime, such as a burglary. “It is a violation when someone walks onto your property. I experienced an at-tempted burglary in February, where someone came on my property. Luckily my tenants saw him and shouted and he ran away.”

Jasmiena Davids, media spokes-person, said it is important for the community to get involved with the neighbourhood watch to protect senior citizens and children who are vulnerable to crime.

They patrol the area bordered by Zeekoe Road, Klip Road, Lake Road and Third Avenue

“Our patrol team is still small, so we want to expand our patrolling areas. However, we need the younger folk to join us because at the moment we have a lot of old people and single parents in our group.”

Ms Davids said they were also building the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. “During Ramadaan, on Fridays and Saturdays, the non-Muslims patrol outside the mosques,” she said.

People in the area are still victims of burglaries and vandalism, said GLNW chairperson, Abdullah Haroon Peck, who also stressed that not all people who live in shacks can be painted as criminals.

“Although there are a few shebeens in Kalbas Kraal, most of the people are not criminals, they are just poor,” he said.

“The community of Lotus River takes law and order very seriously and this is one initiative where our community can stand together to fight crime.”

So far the organisation has a WhatsApp chat group which has just over 160 contacts. “This gives community members a forum to report any suspicious groups or individuals for the patrol team to check out,” said Mr Peck.

The GLNW secures three schools, three churches and a few businesses in the area.

Mr Haroon added that their future plans including setting up CCTV.

“We encourage the Lotus River community to stay in the area, and make our area secure, for example to upgrade the area. We don’t need to move to a leafy suburb we can make our own leafy suburb by looking after our area.”

He said businesses can put money into the technology needed at schools, for example or they can help the youth empower themselves.

They said they are planning to train their members about the law. “We empower ourselves with the right things, at the right time.”

Visit the GLNW on Facebook or for more information call Mr Peck on 084 453 3491.