I met with Mamba today to review the Whatsapp Security Group they have created for our suburb.

Generally it is going well and with some further education on all sides we are heading in the right direction.  Mamba are working with their staff to ensure accurate messages are sent and residents are kept up to date.  This is new for us all but it is settling down nicely.
Mamba took me through one of their groups for another suburb and, to be frank, it’s a nightmare.  Many messages were sent which do not relate to crime, residents are getting personal, bad language, threats and people saying they will not only leave the security group but will also stop paying for their closure.  After a series of these messages I saw that many fed up people ended up leaving the group.  This is a prime example of what could happen to our security group if we do not maintain our discipline and use it only for the purpose it is intended i.e. to report suspicious activity and crime.  It is important for all of us and our families that we do not descend into the chaos of the group I mentioned above. So far our discipline has been good but it can be better.
Some tips and some of the things agreed with Mamba are below –
Remember that your message is being seen by hundreds of people.  We do not advocate that you send a public message asking for your wife or any family member to be added to the group.  Giving out your wife’s name and number in a public space is not advisable.  Rather send a private message to one of the group administrators.
If an incident is reported in a street please do not ask “what number?”  Mamba are bound by the POPI Act which means they cannot give out client info.  We do the same in our closure emails.  This also protects the privacy of the victims of any crime.
Mamba does appreciate all the messages that say well done, great job, thumbs up emojis, smiling face emojis etc. but they ask that you rather keep this channel clear for the reporting of suspicious activity or crime only. If a non crime message is sent then you divert the attention of dozens of Mamba staff for a period of time.  We all know what it’s like when we get a few messages in the office, sometimes it’s very distracting.  The same goes for Mamba staff, if they get a message on the security group they believe it is important and will check it.  The Closure Committee would rather they be focusing on your security and safety so make the messages relevant.
If there is an incident please do not ask for updates.  This just distracts the team from doing their job.  They will get back to us and provide any updates or further alerts.  Mamba does have to go through a process to verify there is an incident and then accurately report on it.  If they feel we are in danger and need to be on the lookout for something they will let us know.
When you post a message about suspicious activity or a crime try to be as accurate as possible e.g. colour, make of car, registration, number of people in the vehicle, location, description of crooks (shoes and pants are good ones to note because while they can change a shirt they don’t often change out of their pants or shoes).
From time to time Mamba will send out tips and hints about how to use the group as effectively as possible.
From time to time Mamba will send out crime information or crime prevention tips.  This may be in the message or the message will contain a link to the information.
There will be an ongoing education effort about how to get the best out of the group.  Please remember that as we go forward new people will continuously be joining.  Be patient with them and assist them to get the best out of the group.
If you want to help someone or someone posts something you do not think appropriate or wish to have a discussion with them remember to use the private messaging facility.  Don’t make your debate or beef with a person public. Most of the people on the group are probably not interested.  It can quickly descend into something bad as per the group Mamba showed to me.
Remember that when you send a message you are not anonymous.  People tend to be less inhibited when using social media especially if they can’t be traced.  It is not the case here so keep it accurate, relevant and civil.
To join the Whatsapp Security Group for Edenglen South contact Mamba or SMS your name and address to 083 300 2975.
Remember to always maintain a high level of awareness, especially when you are leaving or entering your home/driveway.  Please tell your family and domestic workers to also be on the lookout.  Report all suspicious behaviour to Mamba control room (tel number below) and warn the residents using @ESRCAlert.
On behalf of the Edenglen South Road Closure Committee
Committee: Kim Johnson, Des Kelly, Derek Gowans, Dave Lones, James Taylor.
Emergency – Mamba (011 609 0227)
SAPS Sector 3 vehicle 071 675 6844/5
Twitter – report any suspicious activity or crime in progress to all residents of our suburb by including the word @ESRCAlert in your twitter message.  Make sure you are following @ESRCAlert to immediately receive any crime related messages.
www.edenglensouthclosure.co.za – Our official web site, all past newsletters are posted here.
www.edenglensrc.blogspot.com – Community notice board. Do not post crime reports or closure operational issues here rather use our email for thi