Parent involvement in after-school activities, better communication among safety structures and building communities were among the possible solutions to socio-economic problems faced by gang-infested areas, which were tabled when crime fighters met with Police Minister Bheki Cele.
The meeting, held at the New Apostolic Church in Tafelsig on Thursday May 24, was attended by crime fighters from Mitchell’s Plain and surrounding areas.
Among the many problems faced by their communities, said the crime fighters, were the housing backlog, a shortage of manpower, unemployment, illegal shebeens and gangs and drugs infiltrating schools.
However, said Lucinda Evans, chairwoman of the Mitchell’s Plain cluster community police forum board, “we also need to look in-house, inside of police systems, for problems that we need to tackle”.
Denzil Sampson, a member of Oval North High School’s school governing body, and CPF member for Beacon Valley added that parents’ involvement was critical. “Parents need to get involved with after-school activities for young people. This way, communication between crime safety structures are bridged,” he said.
Representing the community of Hanover Park, the Alcardo Andrew Foundation and Moms Move for Justice, Avril Andrews said: “There needs to be a combination of departments (who) need to work together to combat crime. I have seen how these structures do not work together, which makes it challenging to get to a solution. We must have social programmes and parental engagement as well, to educate and keep people informed.”
Rhoda-Ann Bazier, who is an ANC proportional representative (PR) councillor for Ward 109, which includes Macassar and surrounds, and chairperson of Sub-council 13, said gangs were targeting children and the community needed to work together to combat this. “Gangs are part of a family and community, gangs are targeting our kids. What is the community actually doing to help? We must start building community structures again, stronger than before,” she said.
“In 1994 our crime structures were sorted. People living in glass houses throwing stones must come out and do something. We need to take our communities back. We need to have community empowerment to turn things around, we can’t go on like this.”