Kouga has set it sights on becoming the safest municipality in South Africa to live, work and play.
The Keep Kouga Safe campaign was officially launched at the first Kouga Public Safety Summit at Mentors Country Estate last week.
Hosted by Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks, the summit brought together safety and security experts from both the Eastern and Western Cape for two days of brain-storming to lay the foundation for a Kouga Public Safety Plan.
Hendricks said the summit had originally been planned for April and that some 300 roleplayers would have been invited.
“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 lockdown first delayed the summit and then forced us to limit attendance to 50. It was, however, a great success and we look forward to bringing all other roleplayers on board as well.”
He said the focus of the summit had been on preventing and combating crime through a collective approach.
“Crime affects all of our daily lives and also hampers economic growth,” he said.
“It scares off investors and impacts negatively on industries such as Tourism on which our region relies heavily for job creation and security.
“Addressing crime is, therefore, essential to improve the socio-economic circumstances of our communities.”
Keynote address speaker, West Cape Premier Alan Winde, said that a holistic approach was necessary to combat crime effectively.
“Safety should be a key factor in all the planning government does. Even the lay-out of a housing project, for example, can either increase or reduce crime,” he said.
Garden Route District Executive Mayor, Memory Booysen, emphasized the importance of community safety structures.
“Safety concerns everyone. Partnering and building relationships with community, business and government stakeholders is critical for any safety plans to succeed,” he advised.
Also on the summit agenda was farm and rural safety, with participants resolving to lobby the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for tax relief for farmers who invest in safety measures to safeguard the lives of their families and workers, as well as to prevent the theft of livestock and produce.
The use of technology to prevent and combat crime was another focal point, with insurance companies Santam and Hollard Insure sharing their experience and expertise in the field.
Western Cape Agriculture Minister, Dr Ivan Meyer, commended Kouga on proactively seeking solutions for crime.
“The commitment I have seen here from stakeholders across the board has simply been amazing,” he said.
“This region has tremendous potential and the summit has truly put Kouga on course to become the safest municipality in South Africa.”