George Municipality Protection Services remain the backbone support of Covid-19 lockdown operations with all sections playing a role in keeping people safe.
George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said Fire and Disaster Management, Traffic, Law Enforcement, Anti-Land Invasion and GO GEORGE played crucial roles in the bigger picture. “The George Municipality is part of the Garden Route Multi-Agency Coordinating Committee (formerly the Garden Route District Municipality Joint Operations Centre) but has also established its own George Municipal Joint Operations Centre (JOC) to coordinate municipal operations.
“Managed by the municipality’s Fire and Disaster Management units, the George JOC has representatives from all relevant departments connecting every day to provide feedback, share resources and come up with solutions to issues as they occur. The municipality is blessed to have experienced, professional, selfless people working together to make a difference in our communities,” said Mr Botha.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, Traffic and Law Enforcement officers have been involved in a range of activities including visible policing, patrolling, supporting security and emergency agencies, looking out for criminal activity, distributing posters and loud-hailing in neighbourhoods to warn people to stay off the streets. While residents in most neighbourhoods are generally adhering to lockdown regulations, officers respond to occasional calls of people roaming or hanging around outside shops and kids playing in the streets.
Law Enforcement also supported SAPS in assisting other departments to safely provide services including installation of water points and restoring electricity.
Traffic officers continue with traffic safety, point duty and dangerous road offences such as skipping traffic lights, smooth tyres, driving while using a cellphone and driving without a safety belt.
Anti-Land Invasion assisted in transporting the homeless to the temporary shelter and continues to enforce municipal bylaws such as illegal informal vendors, illegal structures and occupations, vagrants and closing businesses not allowed to operate during lockdown.
Fire department staff is integral to the establishment and management of the drive-through donation centre at City Hall – this in addition to their usual duties fighting fires. Since the Covid-19 lockdown, the department attended to a few reports of veldfires as well as a bush fire at Touwsranten, which was attended with Garden Route Fire Department and the aerial fire-fighting unit, and an informal structure fire in Thembalethu.
GO GEORGE continues to provide a limited service to transport essential workers. Strict safety protocols are enforced.
“Our men and women in protection services are exceptional in filling gaps and helping out wherever they are needed, making a difference where it matters. We are very proud of their attitude and commitment, sometimes in the face of conflict and difficult circumstances – we see and appreciate all their work,” said Mr Botha.