MCSI held a community meeting on Monday night (06 Mar) as many members have been expressing concerns around the fallout from the recent Battle of Muizenberg site operation, which resulted in an increase in the number of rough sleepers in the village. Amongst these rough sleepers are homeless, economic opportunists, drug-dealers and known criminals.
The focus was on what can WE do and the ideas generated were a fantastic start so thanks to everyone who was there! The report-back on progress will take place @ Planet Kids, Wednesday 22 March 2017, 18h00 – 20h00.
Take a look and then tell us how you will get involved (things will only change when we as a community MAKE them change) – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details:
What can we as individuals do?
- Donating to or feeding the homeless directly is NOT recommended, by either SAPS, Law Enforcement or Social Development Services as it is recognized that it is never in the best interests of the homeless or local communities.
- We want to discourage these misguided efforts and re-direct their energies to more useful and constructive channels, e.g. contribute to school feeding schemes or support other NGO efforts in the area like FOMP, etc. Look at ways to engage with children from surrounding areas – projects to teach them skills / art which can be sold in the community, with profits being shared by them and the project to purchase more supplies.
- Each home is encouraged to have a whistle – in times of threat or emergency you don’t have to come out and put yourself at risk you can blow your whistle, and hopefully start a chain reaction of whistleblowing around you to put off the criminals.
- Each person to educate their friends and acquaintances in the neighbourhood about responsible giving, and the negative effects that it has when irresponsible giving happens
- Raise concerns regularly with the local Ward Councillors, SAPS and Law Enforcement agencies – the suggestion is to focus on key concerns to raise maximum awareness / exposure of the concerns.
- Report ALL crime to SAPS – insist on statements being taken / cases opened. Report bad experiences received from SAPS officers at the police station.
- Continue supporting community organisations such as MID, MCSI, Safer Together, etc.
What can local businesses do?
- Get behind fighting the issue of vagrancy – specific MCSI members have offered to chat with local businesses about specific strategies like “informally formalizing” car-guards around their businesses like Kalk Bay has done, and if you’d like to help them please let us know via email.
- Businesses to display responsible giving posters. Safer Together, will get Responsible Giving posters printed for display in business windows.
- Put pressure on local liquor outlets to curtail / reduce selling of cheaper, convenient alcohol, such as the wine cartons – this should include Checkers (any volunteers to take this on?)
What can MCSI as an organization do?
- MCSI undertakes that when anyone is observed feeding or donating to the homeless, we will attempt to get the name, organization, telephone and email address. If you’re driving by and can’t stop, put it out on the WhatsApp group and ask available members to go down and check. This info can then be shared with volunteers in MCSI who are willing to follow up with those organizations via the WhatsApp group, as well as Cllr Kuhl and Marion Thomas from MID Social Development.
- Continue / beef up neighbourhood clean-ups to combat the broken-window effect – organize clean-up groups to paint over graffiti, report broken lights, pot-holes, etc. If necessary keep a small pot of spare paint at home so you can act quickly if your property is defaced by graffiti.
What can other organizations do?
- Captain Knapp from SAPS suggested as a first step, to get together with Law Enforcement and Cllr Aimee Kuhl, to determine what additional measures can be taken to deal with the aftermath of displaced people. The Joint Forum meeting Thursday 09 March was identified as the best place to start this engagement.
- Law Enforcement need to enforce by-laws more regularly, such as: drinking in public, urinating in public, swearing, sleeping on the streets, and so on.
- Explore ways to make it very uncomfortable to be outside the Electricity department – e.g. could bright lights be installed? Cameras even if mock cameras? Sprinkler systems? Can Law Enforcement go around even more regularly than they do now?
MID has also made available an easy “cheat sheet” of how to complain and who to complain to – some steps are VERY quick and easy to do, so please take 5 minutes daily to put pressure on local authorities!