All Lives Matter on the Streets of Muizenberg

The Muizenberg Improvement District operates in public space, and therefore public safety refers to improving the safety of ALL people engaging with the public space environment.

Gary Theron, photograph taken in 2014 for his ID tag as part of the social development cleaning team 2014 – 2016.

On Friday 29 September, Gary Theron, a homeless Muizenberg resident for more than ten years, left us with a powerful message. The lack of response from government services when a homeless person is injured on the streets. The lack of understanding when a homeless person is unconscious on the side of the road. His life mattered, but he was homeless, and not necessarily a priority.

Some thought that he was passed out drunk in the middle of the street, the ambulance service failed to arrive (just another homeless person), some did not know what to do – the injury was not apparent at first. His situation however soon deteriorated while MID Directors were on the scene, waiting for medical services to arrive after the MID Patrollers responded to the call-out.

Two hours later, an ambulance had still not arrived, and private emergency services, Cape Medical Response, was called. They responded immediately and Gary Theron was rushed off to Groote Schuur Hospital where it was confirmed that he suffered severe head trauma. He passed away on Tuesday, 2nd October 2017.

His last few hours in Muizenberg left the MID wondering how we could improve our procedural response when dealing with a medical emergency on the streets of Muizenberg. How can we equip the community?

We can share the GARY response, a process that our Patrollers will follow whenever they are called out to a scene where someone has been injured while in public space in the Muizenberg Improvement District area.

  1. G – Gather resources IMMEDIATELY. Call the MID Public Safety on 060 850 6260.
  2. A – Action IMMEDIATE response. MID Public Safety will respond to the scene, and contact the relevant emergency services. The patrol vehicle will stand down to secure the scene, to keep onlookers at bay, and most importantly to wait with the injured individual until emergency medical response arrives.
  3. R – Reassure the individual that help is on its way, try and keep them conscious and warm.
  4. Y – You, the responder need to remain calm. Once the incident is handed over to the relevant emergency authorities take care of yourself and seek out debriefing support from the MID Social Worker or SAPS Trauma Counsellor.

The GARY response is a reminder that ALL lives matter on the streets of Muizenberg. Let’s not become complacent, we all have a role to play.

* The Muizenberg Improvement District thanks Cape Medical Response for the high level emergency medical support.


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with public safety, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.

Enquiries: manager@mid.org.za

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