Awards of appreciation for community

Ward 58 councillor Sharon Cottle presents an award to Desi Rechner.

The Protea Sub-council20 last week handed civic awards to residents who have made outstanding contributions to society.
The citizens have been nominated by ward councillors, community organisations or he public and the awards are in accordance with the Civic Honours policy of the City of Cape Town.

From sport and security to outreach, commitment and dedication, these people have a passion for their cause, said sub-council chairman, Ian Iversen at the event at the Alphen Centre.

“It is hoped that your involvement will inspire others to make a difference in the city and the country,” he said.
Councillor Elizabeth Brunette nominated Dr Gareth Jones for his contribution to sport and Pius Okiror Nsubuga who has been working at The Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisation for the last 12 years.

“Pius has a great passion for people, especially vulnerable individuals and families in need. Besides fulfilling The Haven’s vision and mission statement, he has been instrumental in developing colleagues in their career paths,” said Ms Brunette.
She added that he loves the vulnerable sector and is very hands-on at his job and is willing to accept all opportunities to engage with the community and has been a member of Wynberg Community Police Forum (CPF) for the last seven years.

He is also a member of the Wynberg Sector 1 Neighbourhood Watch, and is the Designated Vulnerable Groups sector member of the Ward 62 Committee.

“Pius’ commitment to making a difference in our community, especially in Wynberg, makes him deserving of this award,” said Ms Brunette.

Ms Brunette also nominated Dr Gareth Jones who is a product of the southern suburbs having attended Bergvliet Primary; Wynberg Boys’ High School; University of Cape Town, and who continues to contribute to the community at False Bay Rugby Football Club, where his contribution to the success of the club has been immense.

“Gareth is receiving this award for his work as the past chairman of False Bay RFC, his dedication to the promotion of the club, and by encouraging sports as a unifier of communities.

“He has led the process of building capacity at the club, and has seen the first XV promoted from the third league in the Western Cape to what is considered the second best club team nationally.

“Since the 1970’s False Bay RFC has strived toward racial inclusiveness, and under Gareth’s leadership this has resulted in a club that can now be considered totally inclusive.

“The local community’s interest in the club has grown as a result of the club’s successes, with several thousand spectators supporting home games, and travelling across the country to support their club.

“Following the inspired and visionary leadership of Dr Jones, False Bay has become a true example of how sport can be used as the catalyst for community success, and this award serves as a token of the community’s gratitude.”

Ms Brunette also commented that False Bay RFC has regular articles in the Bulletin by Jon Harris.

Ward 71 councillor Penny East could not attend the event due to illness and Ward 58 councillor Sharon Cottle presented the awards on her behalf to the Women of Westlake and Dessie Rechner, the founder and director of Pink Ladies Missing Children.
Ms Rechner, 71, is affectionately known as Nana.

The Pink Ladies was established with the primary purpose of reuniting missing and endangered children and their loved ones.

The group does not charge for its services which is strictly voluntary and Dessie works hand in hand with the South African police to tirelessly search for missing people, particularly missing children.

“She has been unselfishly giving her time, energy and commitment to this unfortunate yet essential cause for many years and highly deserves to be recognised for her outstanding contribution to any and all levels of society who need her help at any hour of the day or night.”

The Women of Westlake, now the official “W.O.W” team, see themselves as pioneers and bridge builders on the move to heal their community, through active community participation and a commitment to improve the lives of others.

“When we talk about social development and social change it is a term that is so easily used but not often seen into real tangible action. Through this community work they have made long lasting partnerships with role-players within and outside their community,” read Ms Cottle.

“They are changing their community into better leaders by partaking in social activities, fund-raisers and many other services, mostly by working as a sisterhood and leading by example. Their unyielding compassion, courage, faith, love and humanity provides them with the strength to carry on their vital community development work in a bid to create a safe and caring space for the community.

“We respect and honour their hard work and will continue to support them in all of their endeavors.

Ward 73 Councillor Carol Bew presented an award to Charmaine Lillie who has been actively involved in the community for the past 15 years.

Ms Lillie decided the time had come to give back to the community after working for Robertsons for 15 years. She then began working as a volunteer at a safe house for babies and toddlers and there she met and fell in love with little Josh whom she adopted.

She was the secretary of the Community police forum for five years and became a member of the Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch at its inception in 2007.

She has served on the executive committee since 2007 as the secretary. “She was the right hand woman of the previous chairperson of the Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch who just so happened to be her husband Andrew and together they have given unselfishly of their time to the safeguarding of the Plumstead community.

“She is always willing and available to train and recruit patrollers. To come and talk to the senior citizens and advise them on safety measures.

“She is the type of person who strives to make a difference and it gives me great pleasure in giving her this award.”

Ms Bew also presented an award to Brian Wilkinson who with his wife and two children have been longtime residents of Meadowridge. Brian and his wife run their own landscape, maintenance and irrigation business.

In 2007 he signed up as a member of BKM Neighbourhood Watch as a neighbourhood watch patroller and a few years later became the zone manager for the Meadowridge area.

In 2012, Brian at his own expense and with the help of Ms Bew, in an attempt to establish the “know your neighbor” concept set out to establish the Bell Road Park, which prior to today was an eyesore but is now enjoyed daily by many people. Brian continues to monitor the state of the park and still spends time spraying weeds and or re-planting.

In 2012 Brian joined the Law Enforcement Auxiliary Programme and was an active officer until 2016.

In 2013 Brian was co-opted onto the BKM exco with his main portfolio being that of training.

Between 2014 and 2016 Brian was a member of the Diep River CPF and in 2015 elected chairman of BKM Neighbourhood Watch and is also serving as a member of the Constantia Valley Watches Association.

In 2017 Brian was elected as a ward committee member for the Safety and Security organisations for Ward 73 of Sub-council 20.

“It gives me great pleasure in giving him this reward,” said Ms Bew.