Work­ing for the com­mu­nity

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

From the first per­son in the coun­try to earn the Pres­i­dent’s (then the Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s) Award to the lat­est two re­cip­i­ents, the award teaches youth to be mind­ful of their com­mu­nity and its is­sues and to be­come in­volved in find­ing so­lu­tions.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa is the pa­tron-in-chief of the South African chap­ter.

A po­lice of­fi­cial from Port Al­fred, Ge­orge Pet­zer, re­cently at­tended the Pres­i­dent’s Awards Gold Award cer­e­mony in Sand­ton as one of the key­note speak­ers and South Africa’s first Gold Award re­cip­i­ent in 1985.

He ad­dressed the more than 600 Gold Award re­cip­i­ents and VIP guests, en­cour­ag­ing the young peo­ple, in­clud­ing some pris­on­ers who had en­rolled in the pro­gramme, to con­tinue im­prov­ing their life skills and com­mu­nity ser­vice.

“The at­tributes and char­ac­ter gained through this pro­gramme will em­power you to serve your com­mu­nity with in­tegrity and hu­mil­ity. My plea to you is to get in­volved in car­ing for your en­vi­ron­ment, the less for­tu­nate, the dis­crim­i­nated groups of peo­ple and the vic­tims of crime. The Pres­i­dent’s Gold Award is not the end of your com­mu­nity ser­vice, but re­ally the be­gin­ning of a life­style of com­mu­nity ser­vice,” said Pet­zer.

Port Al­fred High School (PAHS) for­mer pre­fects and now alumni, Tali Alexan­dre and Adam Nolte, were re­cip­i­ents of the Pres­i­dent’s Award on the evening.

“The Pres­i­dent’s Award has been a huge part of my life for a long time,” said Alexan­dre, who en­rolled in the pro­gramme af­ter a girl at the school was pre­sented with her gold award. Alexan­dre has since gone on to be­come the as­sis­tant to Laura Guest, head of mar­ket­ing, alumni and de­vel­op­ment at PAHS. She is also a part of the Penny Can­dle Trust, the head of the Pres­i­dent’s Award Com­mit­tee and has launched her free­lance so­cial me­dia and graphic de­sign com­pany, Alexx. She is the chair of DA Youth in ward 10 and the chair of an NPO called GEAR and a part of Ro­tary work­ing with In­ter­act and Ear­lyAct.

Nolte has not been idle and is cur­rently at Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity study­ing psy­chol­ogy, pass­ing the year with dis­tinc­tion, hav­ing taken 15 mod­ules. This heavy work­load has made it im­pos­si­ble for him to con­tinue with com­mu­nity ser­vice, but he will be­come more in­volved as his sched­ule al­lows.

As for Pet­zer, he was awarded the Eastern Cape Provin­cial Po­lice­man of the Year ti­tle in the 1990s for his pi­o­neer­ing ef­forts in es­tab­lish­ing com­mu­nity polic­ing in SA, lead­ing to a pos­i­tive re­duc­tion in crime in his area. His ef­forts were filmed by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the UN. Pet­zer was the only non-com­mis­sioned of­fi­cer to be cho­sen by na­tional man­age­ment for a three-month fact-find­ing tour of Europe where he stud­ied best prac­tices by sev­eral po­lice agen­cies, in­clud­ing Scot­land Yard, re­gard­ing com­mu­nity polic­ing and the rights of the LGBT com­mu­nity.

Pet­zer was ap­proached by the depart­ment of in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment to be a part of its mul­ti­mil­lion-rand Part­ners in Polic­ing fo­rum, in the Eastern Cape as men­tor, fa­cil­i­ta­tor and project man­ager. Af­ter three years as the com­mu­nity polic­ing ad­viser to the SAPS area com­mis­sioner, Pet­zer left the po­lice and worked as a se­cu­rity ad­viser in the film in­dus­try in Europe, re­turn­ing af­ter a seven-year stint over­seas, and be­gan work­ing for NGOs and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to as­sist char­i­ties and res­i­dents.

Two years ago, Pet­zer re-joined the SAPS, and is look­ing for­ward to join­ing its Com­mu­nity in Blue con­cept, to strengthen the link and de­velop part­ner­ships be­tween the po­lice and com­mu­ni­ties.

“I be­lieve our young peo­ple have so much to of­fer our com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing the fight against crime and re­build­ing the fi­bre of our beau­ti­ful coun­try by par­tic­i­pat­ing in pro­grammes like the Pres­i­dent’s Award and other youth or­gan­i­sa­tions,” said Pet­zer.

“My dream, with 2030 in mind, is to see groups of young lead­ers, to­gether with their adult men­tors, work­ing to­gether in each com­mu­nity to make South Africa great again.”

GO­ING FOR GOLD: Adam Nolte, left, and Tali Alexan­dre were two of the lat­est re­cip­i­ents of the Pres­i­dent’s Award Gold stan­dard at an awards cer­e­mony held re­cently in Sand­ton, Jo­han­nes­burg

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.