Thank you for taking the time to register on Turnitaround. We have just launched the website and are currently working on a set of pilot projects in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Turnitaround aims to be the online home of neighbourhood watches, community policing forums and other civic groups in South Africa. The website serves two purposes.
1) Enhance the work of networks that exist on the ground.
Running a neighbourhood watch or any other kind of network is hard work and daunting. Setting up a website is also very expensive. We hope to ease this administrative burden by allowing activists to create networks on Turnitaround for free. All of the tools and resources you need to make a difference are here.
You can SMS and email your members and send out messages on Twitter. Communication and the sharing of information are critical to the success of any initiative. All services on the website - besides the SMS feature - are absolutely free. SMS credits for your network can be bought at a discounted rate on Turnitaround.
You can report crimes in your area and gain a graphic representation of the challenges that your community faces, as well as the progress your efforts have made over the weeks and months. We intend over time to expand this to other issues of service delivery.
Members can comment - anonymously if they like - on crimes and news stories. This allows tip-offs and information about corruption to be brought to light more easily. The site integrates seemlessly with Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
You can also post news either to your network or on a national level.
We hope to add more and more features as the project develops.
2) Aggregate the work of local activists on a national level.
Turning around South Africa begins with turning around your little patch of territory. But we then need to organise these efforts on provincial and national levels.
Activists can now feel as though they are part of a broad network of positive South Africans working towards a fairer, safer and happier tomorrow. Moreover, Turnitaround allows network leaders to communicate with each other and share critical information that can help prevent incidents occurring and allow authorities to respond to urgent issues.
We believe firmly that when you connect people to technology you connect people to people. And when you connect people to people... you connect people to power.
That requires leadership - and that's where you come in.
Change takes more than chanting old slogans, burning stuff or waiting for things to happen. Poverty - and community safety - is often a conscious state of mind and we, the people of South Africa, need to meet the government half way or at least hold it to account for its performance.
Crime in South Africa is organised and our response - if it is to be successful - must also be organised. Crime in South Africa is also colour blind and our response - if it is to be successful must also be colour blind. Turnitaround aims to make the issues the issue - not race or faction the issue - and in so doing to promote community self esteem.
If we succeed in our goal we will help prioritise empowerment over enrichment and help a new generation of grass-roots leaders to emerge in South Africa.
In the long history of South Africa, change has never come from the Union Buildings. Change has to go to the Union Buildings. When people lead, leaders will follow.
It may take months, years or even decades, but history has shown many times before: nothing - nothing - can stand in the way of the power of millions of South Africans calling for change.
People often ask: Who leads Turnitaround? The answer is simple: you do. A key principle of Turnitaround is that anyone can lead - and that true leadership is expressed through service to others. We need you to join your local network - and if there isn't a network - then we need you to create one.
We need you and your community to pick up the litter, to drive out the prostitutes and to make it clear to the drug dealers: we will not let you destroy our communities any longer.
We need you and your community to organise neighbourhood patrols, to form strong relationships with the police and to hold elected officials to account
We need you to be the change you want to see so that village by village, town by town and province by province, South Africans can take the next step on our Long Walk to Freedom.
There's a word for all this.
It's called progress.