A volunteer group that assists local police in suicide prevention and response at Van Stadens Bridge near Port Elizabeth has called on the public — especially church groups — to contribute towards the cost of repairs to the closed circuit TV (CCTV) monitoring equipment on the bridge.
It is vital that damage to the equipment caused by a recent lightning strike be carried out before the imminent completion of the anti-suicide pedestrian barrier and in advance of the Christmas and New Year season, says Friends Of Van Stadens Bridge Trust (FOVSBT) chairman, Cliff Rose in a letter of appeal.
FOVSB which played a vital lobbying role in persuading the Government to erect the 2.7m high pedestrian barrier along both sides of the 198m long bridge, has been
pro-active in upgrading and maintaining the CCTV system on the bridge over the past two and a half years. During this time they have installed eight new cameras and upgraded the electrical reticulation on the bridge. Over this period they have carried out regular repairs and maintenance to keep the system running as best as possible and making sure the cameras images are displayed at the nearby Thornhill police station. Other FOVSB achievements include establishing a support room for rescued attempted suicide victims and victims or rape and domestic violence, supplying of refreshments to those involved in rescue and recovery operations, clothing and material support for victims of rape and domestic violence, and counselling support and training. All of the work has been achieved through the efforts and contributions of individual and corporate volunteers.
Commenting on the current situation, Rose says: “Over the past month we have experienced lightning damage to some of the fibre transmission equipment on the bridge which needs urgent repairs and replacement of the fibre video media converters. At the moment we have only have five out of the eight video channels working.The current equipment is ex the UK and repair turnaround times are long and costly. We would like to replace the current equipment with locally manufactured media converters to improve repair turnaround times and availability of spares. Repair estimates are in the region of R40 000.00 to make it fully functional and implement some surge protection,” says Rose.
In view of the urgent need for the repairs, Rose says he has ordered the necessary material in faith, “knowing that ourPort Elizabeth and surrounding communities will respond positively to this appeal”.
“Please don’t miss this opportunity to partner the Friends of Van Stadens Bridge in achieving what some would think was impossible but knowing that all things are possible through those who know and love the Lord,” he says.
He says all contributions, no matter how small,are welcome and can be deposited directly in Lifeline’s bank account. The payment details are:
Account name:LifeLine Port Elizabeth
Bank:First National Bank, Rink Street
Account number: 534 6119 5019
Type of account: Cheque
Branch code: 210317
Reference: “FOVSBT” or “Van Stadens Bridge CCTV repairs”
Last week, Gateway News published an appeal by the coordinator of another Van Stadens Bridge campaign to deter suicides — the Cross of Hope Project. A Gateway News reader responded to the appeal, offering to pay the R5 000 cost for a security gate to control access to the 14m high white steel cross that has been erected near the bridge to proclaim hope in Christ to passing motorists.