If every good person in South Africa raised their hand

Last year, a student in my adoptive hometown of Stellenbosch was brutally murdered. As happens when tragedy strikes, a lot of discussions go around about why it happened, what could have been done to prevent it, and where to now.

But what has stuck with me ever since, was the reaction of the grieving parents. They started a charitable foundation named in honour of their daughter’s memory, with the aim of addressing the broken society that gives rise to senseless acts of violence, beyond just the sheltered bubble of the wealthier parts of our rural town. “There is more good in this world than evil. If every good person in South Africa raised their hand and committed to bringing change in one other person’s life, then within two generations South Africa could realistically be the global country of choice for all,” they wrote.

It is easy to get crushed by the enormity of the challenges to create a safe South Africa for all its inhabitants. At Namola, we’re even more acutely aware of this than most. My “office” is on the Namola Response Centre floor. Every day I see and hear how our team of dedicated response coordinators scramble to work around resourcing (and occasional service delivery) challenges within our emergency and law enforcement agencies to get Namola users the assistance they require.

Giving up is easy. Acknowledging and confronting the problems — acting! — is hard. I sometimes hear the sentiment that unless we can do something perfectly, it’s better to do nothing at all (other than, I suspect, complain). I disagree. Change can start with a WhatsApp group in a single street, growing to a neighbourhood. Reaching out to the local police station and finding out how the community can support them. Extending a hand of friendship to other communities in the area. “If every good person in South Africa raised their hand and committed to bringing change in one other person’s life…” That’s how we both confront our challenges and overcome them. That’s how we simultaneously make South Africa safe and heal the deep wounds in our society.

– Pete (CEO, Namola

What happens to a child in a car crash?

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As a parent, your first thought in a motor vehicle accident is about the safety of your child. But many parents do not use car seats properly. 1 out of every 4 parents admits to not buckling up their children on every single car trip.

Road accidents are the leading cause of death in children under five years old in South Africa. A child is twenty times more likely to die on our roads than anywhere else in the world. If car seats are used safely and correctly, many of these deaths can be avoided.

[WATCH] what happens to a child in a car accident – News24

Car seat use reduces the risk for death to infants by 71% and to toddlers by 54% in passenger vehicles. Booster seats reduce the risk for serious injury by 45% for children aged between 4 and 8 when compared with seat belt use alone.

Using car seats properly will make the difference between life and death in an accident. A one-time lapse can result in a lifetime of regret.

Here are some important car seat safety tips:

  • Buy the best. Invest in the best car seat you can afford. Beware of bargains, old and secondhand car seats. They may have some unseen damage. If you buy a secondhand seat, make sure it has the original instructions, all its parts, and hasn’t been in a serious accident or recalled. Stick with car seats that are fewer than five years old.
  • Double-check. Always double-check the car seat’s label to ensure it’s the right one for your child’s age, weight and height.
  • Look back. Keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible – at least until the age of 2 or until they reach the seat’s maximum rear-facing height and weight limits.
  • Harness seats. Your child should ride in a safety seat with a five-point harness until they weigh at least 18 kgs (i-Size 18.5kgs), or until their shoulders no longer fit under the harness straps.
  • Booster seats. Your child should ride in a booster seat from the time they weigh 18kgs and are 4 years old, and until they are 1.50m tall and are 8-12 years old.
  • Check for movement. Make sure your seat is installed correctly and check that the car seat does not tip forward or slide from side to side more than an inch. Boosters must be secured with a lap-and-shoulder belt.
  • Snug as a bug. Make sure your child is secured in the seat properly by ensuring that the car seat harness straps are snug enough to hold them firmly in the event of an accident.
  • Buckle up. Buckle your child in, making sure the harness straps are not twisted, and use the mechanism to pull the harness tight. You should not be able to pinch any harness fabric between your fingers.
  • Buckle down. When you’re putting your child in their seat, double-check to be sure that the seat is buckled tightly to the car. Forward-facing safety seats come with a strap so you can tether the seat to an anchor point in the car for extra protection.
  • Lead by example. Set a good example by always wearing your own seat belt.
  • Help others. If you see someone driving around with their children not in a car seat or safely buckled up, call 0861 400 800 with the car’s license plate and the date. The Road Traffic Management Corporation will send them a warning letter. It could save a child’s life.

What to do if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a child:

  • Request assistance using Namola. Response Center Agents will arrange that the relevant emergency services arrive at the scene using your phone’s GPS capabilities. Make sure you know what information is needed by EMS during an accident.
  • Accept medical help for your child and yourself. Your child needs to be seen by a paramedic, and you might need to be treated so that you can take care of them.
  • Be vigilant in the weeks following your collision. Take your child for any necessary follow ups.  
  • Replace child car seats after the accident. Even if your child was not in the seat at the time, the forces of the crash can cause issues with the construction of the seat that are invisible to the naked eye. If you do not replace the car seat and an issue occurs, the seat may not be viable in the event of another crash.

Car accidents are terrifying experiences, especially for parents. Make sure that your child is in a car seat, buckled up and that all safety precautions are taken to give your family the best chance should you be involved in a crash.

Tshwane resident assists at double accident scene

The more time you spend on the road, the higher your chances of witnessing accidents. And the more opportunities you get to help.

Stopping at the scene of a motor vehicle accident just outside Tshwane and requesting emergency assistance, Petrus Vermeulen didn’t realise that his one deed would serve two needs.

“About 100 meters from the N1/N4 interchange, in the direction of Polokwane, there is a spot where a large puddle of water collects in rainy weather,” says Vermeulen.

Vermeulen arrived on the scene of the accident and immediately used Namola to request help, “I have a 34-year-old male needing medical assistance after his car hit the barrier and spun numerous times”. The Namola Response Centre coordinated with emergency services and arranged for an ambulance dispatch. EMS were on the scene within 9 minutes.

The paramedics had just loaded the driver of the first accident into the ambulance, when a second vehicle hit the same puddle of water in an identical accident. Emergency services were able to immediately assist with the second accident.

The driver of the first car, Jean Pierre Greyvensteyn, sustained whiplash and cracked vertebra. He is recovering well and is grateful that Petrus was there and able to use Namola. “The app really works. SInce the accident, my wife and I have both downloaded it, as have two of my cousins,” commends Greyvensteyn.

“I have now repeatedly used Namola. Each time they are able to assist immediately and get emergency services to the scene of the accident,” says Vermeulen.

If you’re first on the scene of an accident or witness to any emergency, you have the ability to help. Use Namola to request assistance and a Response Centre Agent will call you back immediately and make sure you and the victims #GetHelpFast.

From the Inside:Weaving the community safety net

The beginning of the year is a time of hope for many — especially for our future leaders who are enrolling at tertiary education institutions across the country. Young adults are a catalyst for change because they see the world clearly for what it ought to be, unencumbered by the cynicism or weariness that tends to set in as we get older.

The oxygen for this candle of hope is safety. Not just safety from crime.

But also financial safety — knowing you have the means to walk the distance.

And the safety of respect — knowing that your peers will honour your boundaries.

The safety of community — knowing you don’t have to walk the road alone; that others will pick you up and carry you when you fall.

This is only possible together. Not all of us wear the proud uniform of law enforcement to fight crime. But all of us can listen without judgement, to foster a culture of respect. We can all look out for our friends, loved ones or colleagues; check in and find out, “How are really you doing?” Not turn a blind eye to injustice or harmful behaviour and shrug, “Not my problem!”

Let us make 2018 the year of community, interacting with respect and united in action. Community weaves the fragile strands of individuals together into a strong and resilient safety net. In the coming weeks and months, we will keep rolling out features to enable communities to work together to stay safe. Please keep sending us your feedback and ideas. Thank you for being with us on this journey, together.

– Pete (CEO, Namola)

Proactive community triumphs in Hanover Park

In the gang-ridden neighbourhood of Hanover Park, residents are combating crime together. Community members made a citizen’s arrest when a lady — waiting to see a doctor with her baby — was robbed at gunpoint at the Hanover Park Day Hospital.

As gang violence cripples Hanover Park, parents worry about their children’s safety and community members feel like prisoners in their own homes . “As residents we are tired. Gang violence keeps on escalating, gunshots are heard every minute and innocent people are affected,” says Igshaan Nazie, community leader and chairperson of Hanover Park Civic Association.  

A message on a WhatsApp community safety group notified a community member about the robbery and citizen’s arrest. He immediately used Namola to request police assistance at the scene, “The community has managed to apprehend one of the suspects, but are in need of immediate SAPS assistance”.  

Within 7 minutes of the request being made, a team from Philippi SAPS arrived on the scene and arrested the alleged gangster. Proactive communities standing  together to support law enforcement in the fight against crime means that South Africa is safer for us and our children.

Students concentrating in lecture

Student safety tips for the new varsity year

Students across the country are gearing up for another year at university. For first time and returning parents, it is an exciting time. But also a time of concern. How do you ensure that your children make the most of this opportunity while staying safe?

BE SMART:  Common sense on campus will go a long way to keeping you and your possessions safe.

  • Safety in numbers. Try not to travel around campus alone. Stick to groups of two or more and take the well used routes.
  • Trust your gut. If have strange feeling that something may be wrong, you’re probably right. Change your route to a better travelled, well-lit one and head towards a public space or campus security.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure you are familiar with the routes between your residence, classes and activities.
  • Follow the lights. Stick to well-lit and busy areas. Stay on the part of the sidewalk farthest away from shrubs, dark doorways and alleys where people can hide.
  • Tell somebody. Share your schedule with parents and close friends and create a buddy system. Share friends’ phone numbers with your parents and your wider buddy group.
  • Keep personal details safe. Don’t be vulnerable to identity theft or be casual with your personal details. Make sure your drivers licence, banking passwords and passport details are kept safe.
  • Protect your property. Theft is the largest crime on campus. Frequent targets are bicycles and personal property that are left unlocked or unattended.

 

BE SMARTER-ER: Not everyone drinks, but if you do…

  • Play it safe. If you are going to drink, plan your night out with safety in mind and be wary of drinking games, particularly those which encourage binge drinking.
  • Eat up. Don’t skip meals and an easier and quicker way to feel the effects of alcohol.
  • Designate a driver. Don’t get into a car with a driver who has been drinking alcohol or one who texts while at the wheel.
  • Trust your senses. Don’t drink anything that you haven’t seen come out of the original bottle, or that tastes or smells strange. Take a small first sip and rather stop than take the chance.
  • Date right. Check out a first or a blind date with friends and arrange to meet in public places. Take money for a taxi or arrange your own transport in case you need to cut the date short.

 

BE THE SMARTEST: Make sure you have the tools and cover for when things do go wrong.

  • Insure. If something happens, you don’t want to be without the necessities when university pressure hits. Dialdirect has Specified Portable Possessions Insurance which covers valuable items, like smartphones, tablets, laptops, sunglasses, etc.
  • There’s an app for that. Download and test the free Namola safety app, an innovative communication tool the will ensure you GET HELP FAST.
  • Request help. When in an emergency situation, immediately use Namola to request assistance. The Response Centre will call you back and coordinate emergency assistance. A delay in reporting an incident decreases the chances of apprehending the suspects.
  • Add friends and family. Namola lets you add 5 Emergency Contacts to the app. When you request help, your Emergency Contacts will be alerted. Your family, friends, and even local emergency services like campus security, will be notified of your situation, kept up to date of progress, and will have the ability to respond to the emergency.

Namola Safety App continues to grow and is contributing to #MakeSASafe writes Yusuf Abramjee

The Namola Safety App is making its mark.

Over 132 000 people have downloaded Namola and it is the fast-growing emergency app in South Africa.
Users are guaranteed a call back within 90 seconds of pressing the panic button. Hundreds of users get help weekly.
The app has the support of amongst others, the Police Minister, Gauteng Community Safety Dept, Dept of Women, Mayor of Johannesburg and the new JMPD chief.
Namola is sponsored powered by DialDirect and it’s great to see corporates such as this Insurance company investing in a safer SA. Well done DirectDirect and also to the SABC for the partnership.
Namola Watch a feature on the app also allows Enrolled Watch members to receive SMS alerts of all confirmed incidents reported through Namola in their designated areas. This enables citizens of South Africa to get help at the fastest possible time.
Namola has shown we can and must use technology. It is the future.
We call on all municipalities across the country to join the fight against crime and partner with Namola. Those municipalities who have can vouch how it helps.
If you don’t have the app as yet, get it now.
#MakeSASafe

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He also heads-up #MakeSASafe

Twitter: @abramjee
 
 

Well done Mayor Msimanga for declaring war on drugs, writes Yusuf Abramjee

Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga has declared a full scale war on drugs.

Bring it on!
The time has come to clean-up our city. Today saw Msimanga and law enforcement agencies taking to the streets in a first of a series of operations.
Drugs are being sold across the city and in many areas these dealers are operating openly. 
We need to join the Mayor and say #NoToDrugs
The TMPD has set-up a special unit to deal with drugs. In Laudium recently, officers acted on information and made arrests and confiscations. We need to see more of this. And we need convictions. 
The public must blow the whistle on drug dealers. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How? Pass on detailed information. 
You can also use the Namola Safety App to report crime and the information will be passed on to the TMPD.
Crime affects all of us and we must take a stand. I’m sure we going to see lots of action in crime hotspots over the coming days and weeks. These operations must be sustained.
Let’s join hands and #MakeSASafe
*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He also heads-up #MakeSASafe 

Twitter: @abramjee

Couple reunited after hijacking horror

Getting a call from a loved one to tell you they’re in an emergency can be very unsettling. When Thapelo Mbobosi got the call from his fiance – Zinthle Danti – to say that she was the victim in a hijacking incident, his first thought was to request help from Namola.

The Namola Response Centre called Thapelo back immediately, and the agents on duty were able to get all the necessary details about the incident. Zinthle was hijacked in the Robertson area while Thapelo was in Paarl. Namola notified the relevant emergency services in the greater Robertson area.

SAPS teams from Worcester, Robertson and Swellendam dispatched units to find Zinthle and the hijacked car. After a 6 hour pursuit, the car and Zinthle were found in Swellendam, and the couple were safely reunited.

We know that one of the scariest parts of an emergency situation is not knowing how your loved ones are – during and right after an emergency. The Namola team constantly kept Thapelo updated on progress in securing Zinthle’s safety during this ordeal.

52 South Africans are murdered and 46 are vehicles hijacked every day. To ensure citizens are assisted in emergency situations, Namola works with users and emergency services to GET HELP FAST. Namola’s Response Centre Agents make sure they have all the relevant information. Knowing this detail, and the user’s exact location, Namola ensures the most appropriate emergency services are able to assist.

Dialdirect advises users on how to stay safe in hijacking situations

Hijackings are up by 14.5%. We advise South Africans to be aware that there has been an alarming rise in ‘blue-light’ hijackings.

To prevent becoming another statistic Warwick Scott-Rodger, Head of Dialdirect, recommends the following easy tips to stay safe:

  • Stay alert. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re travelling the same route every day. Make sure you keep your eyes on the road and notice your surroundings.
  • Be connected. If you’re travelling to an area you know to be unsafe, keep a spare, cheap phone on you. Load it with some airtime, save a few emergency contacts onto it and turn it off to make the battery last. If your car and valuables are stolen, you will still be able to call for help.
  • Mix up your routes. Use your GPS to try different roads home to throw off any criminals casing your home or your car.
  • Get an electric gate. Many hijackings and home invasions happen just as you are entering or leaving your home. Having a well-lit driveway and an electric gate (that can switch to a battery during power failures) can help you get in and out safely.
  • Make space. Leave enough room between your car and the one in front to avoid being boxed in.  
  • Check behind you. If you think that you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station or another safe, public place. Don’t go home.
  • Be vigilant. At unusual or unexpected roadblocks, keep windows closed and doors locked and ask for the police or traffic officer’s identity card.
  • Be ready. If you sense you are in danger, hit the button on your tracking device if you have one.
  • Warn someone. When driving home alone, always phone ahead to give a relative, husband or partner your established time of arrival.
  • Stranger danger. Get to know your neighbours and the cars they drive. This will help to identify any uncommon vehicles in your area.
  • Be aware. Adopt a search pattern radius to scout before approaching your home.
  • Slow down. Adjust your speed when approaching a traffic light so that you do not have to come to a complete stop.

There are golden rules to follow if you are accosted by a hijacker:

  • Remain calm
  • Do not argue
  • Do not make sudden gestures
  • Avoid eye contact but try to remember what the carjacker looked like by identifying and remembering special features
  • Comply with the hijackers directions (within reason)
  • Try and get away from the area as quickly as possible
  • Don’t be a hero – your life is worth more than your car

Prevention is better than cure. To prevent a hijacking situation one needs to be equipped with the correct information and knowledge.  The greatest weapon in a hijacker’s arsenal is not his gun, but your belief that it won’t happen to you. “Hijacking is a reality and you need to be prepared for this horrific eventuality,” Scott-Rodger.

Article taken from Telesure website