The need for a Beachfront Safety Sector in the Summerstrand/Humewood area of Nelson Mandela Bay has become critical. The vandalism and destruction of the beachfront infrastructure continue unabated. I am appealing to the MEC for Community Safety to intervene.
I first raised this in a portfolio committee meeting around 2017/18. The provincial commissioner at the time agreed to it. Sadly, this beachfront sector has not yet been implemented. SAPS is failing the community!
When the portfolio committee met with the provincial commissioner in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this year, we were assured that the beachfront safety sector had been implemented. When we met with the Humewood police station management later that week, they informed us it would be implemented in a matter of days. It still has not happened.
Beachfront safety is critical to tourists and residents. Recently the lifesavers club was broken into; ablution facilities have been rendered inoperable, murals have been vandalized, and electricity cables stolen. A few weeks ago, the whole of Summerstrand was without power for five days because of vandalism. This damage pales in comparison to the negative impact of lost tourism revenue.
Not only is the area a major tourist attraction, but it is also home to many students, residents and the elderly. They cannot be held hostage by the criminal element.
I’m appealing to the MEC and the department to use their influence to get this beachfront safety sector up and running. The neighbourhood watch, the community, and the municipality can only do so much. It needs an on the ground presence from SAPS.
The local station is very much aware of the need as it has been reported on numerous occasions by Cllr Ronaldo Gouws and various neighbourhood watch representatives.
Nelson Mandela Bay is the only metro in South Africa that does not have a beachfront safety sector. We need action, and we need it now.
In conclusion, let us build a safer and secure metro by increasing police visibility. Boots on the ground are needed, particularly in the festive season. Let us create hope and opportunities for people, which comes with job creation that flows from a growing tourist industry. MEC, will you fix this?