Reaching out to the most vulnerable

As Covid-19 fears grip the country during our first week in lockdown, the spirit of ubuntu is being shown as communities across the city reach out to their most vulnerable.

In response to the pandemic, the Muizenberg Community Action Network (Muizenberg-CAN) was formed in less than a week.

It links up more than 60 neighbourhood groups across the city, forming a network of support for people in need.

Brendon Bosworth, a Muizenberg resident working with Muizenberg-CAN, said the pandemic called for a united response to help the most vulnerable.

Seventy street representatives have volunteered to stay in touch with people living in their street through WhatsApp. They are identifying high-risk and vulnerable people who might need help with sourcing food, emotional support, and other types of care.

Volunteers with Muizenberg-CAN have organised themselves into working groups covering key areas and have identified those who might need help during the national lockdown.

Muizenberg-CAN is part of the broader Cape Town Together initiative, which motivates ordinary people in every community to take action at neighbourhood level through the formation of local Community Action Networks (CANs).

The networks are primarily for non-medical needs and follow guidance from the Department of Health.

The group has rallied to support the Muizenberg medical community and the False Bay Hospital. It is in contact with SAPS, the Muizenberg Improvement District (MID), and the ward councillor.

Before lockdown, volunteers put up 750 posters with public health information on Covid-19 in Muizenberg, Vrygrond, and Overcome Heights, while observing precautions for safe distribution.

These posters are in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and French with contact numbers for government hotlines and local CAN representatives.

Muizenberg CAN has a collaborative relationship with Vrygrond-CAN and is supporting efforts in the neighbouring community through spreading public health messages, supporting access to hygiene products for hand washing, and lobbying for the speedy delivery of water tankers.

Helga Jansen-Daugbjerg, another Muizenberg resident working with the CAN, said: “In the sentiments of President Cyril Ramaphosa, this moment is historic, and requires all our efforts to combat an invisible enemy. We can only do this together. We are incredibly privileged to act in the great South African tradition of community-level organising. Let us together leverage the very best of our traditions and culture to rise up in victory against a common enemy.”

For more details on Muizenberg-CAN call or WhatsApp: 067 764 3329. For details on Vrygrond-CAN call or WhatsApp: 078 815 7490. Follow Cape Town Together on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/CapeTownTogether