Who started the ECC?

Joe Frylinck, Fish Hoek

Lovely front page article about the closure of the Emergency Call Centre (“ECC closes after 21 years,” Echo, September 4) except there are a few glaring errors that I wish to put right.

I started the ECC before Felicity Purchase and a pre-arranged group voted me out of the ECC at a meeting and handed it to the Hendersons.

Ms Purchase was afraid that I was after her job as councillor. I was becoming way too influential in the peninsula, except I had no such ambitions.

The first ECC premises was at the False Bay Hospital in the crematorium building (of all places). It suited the hospital as we were on call to help in emergencies like snakes, bees, etc.

I started the ECC in response to all the bad publicity the police were receiving because of lack of vehicles, petrol, manpower, etc.

It made sense to start a phone-in service that could delegate response according to severity.

The Fish Hoek police thought the ECC wanted to take over their job and were vehemently against me and the ECC until we proved to them we were a help and not a hindrance.

It was then agreed the ECC would move into the Fish Hoek police station as we were able to check up on them and in an emergency see that they responded without excuses.

I even managed to get two extra vehicles for Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town police at a time when the police were short of vehicles.

All this while in charge of the ECC. None of this info suits Ms Purchase who now made the ECC her baby and makes her look good.

* Bobbi Marshall, ECC chairwoman, responds: As mentioned in the article of September 3, my association with the ECC began in 2013, soon after my husband and I relocated to Cape Town. I have never heard Mr Frylinck’s name in connection with the ECC during that period, nor have I seen any mention of him in any of the historical press cuttings. However, there must have been well over a thousand volunteers who have given their service to the ECC during the past couple of decades and Mr Frylinck may well have been involved during the early years.

However, regardless of whatever labour pains may have been suffered at the birth of the ECC, none of this takes away from the wonderful service which the Emergency Call Centre provided to the community of the deep south over the past 21 years and the admirable sense of duty and responsibility displayed by all those many volunteers who continued to give of their time, week after week and year after year.

* Felicity Purchase, mayoral committee member for transport, responds:

The ECC started when I was chair of the community police forum (CPF) and Joe was vice chair. There was no 107 in place at that time, and it was the first of its kind. He did a lot of the work, but it was a CPF project. So too was the creation of the victim-support centre. I was chair for about 10 years. I am not sure why Joe left. He was the proverbial Energizer Bunny. Compulsive obsessive. But very hard working and determined.

I can’t really remember the story about why he was “voted out” and it was handed over to the Hendersons to run except that Don Henderson became the vice chair and then chair of the CPF, and it probably happened for that reason. Don Henderson was retired at the time and was able to devote more time to the CPF than I really had.

We had battled until then to get a volunteer to take over the CPF chairmanship. I was quite fond of him and his wife so not sure why he feels so upset. I do not recall ever having any idea about Joe wanting to be a councillor, and at that time we were the South Peninsula Municipality and there would have been enough opportunity for him to stand as a councillor if he had wanted to.