Women who play an invaluable role in safe-guarding the community were saluted at a breakfast hosted by the City of Cape Town at the Lentegeur Council Chambers on Monday June 5.
The event, attended by about a hundred women, was also held to mark Youth Month.
Albert Fritz, the MEC for Social Development, thanked the volunteers who serve on various safety structures in the area for their time and expertise to improve their community’s safety, and paid tribute to the young women who had also joined these crime-fighting structures.
Dan Plato, the MEC for Community Safety, Eddie Andrews, the Mayco member for area south and ward councillor for Ward 78 (Westridge and parts of Portland) and Elton Jansen, ward councillor for Ward 43 (Strandfontein, Isiqalo informal settlement and parts of Philippi), who is also the chairperson of Sub-council 23, attended the event.
Mr Fritz encouraged residents to play an active role in child protection, and to volunteer as safety parents. “Each of you here can open up your homes, and after vetting and screening from our social workers, can qualify to become Department of Social Development safety parents,” he said.
Mr Fritz said a safety parent should be over the age of 18, screened and trained to provide emergency care and protection within the community and within a family context, to vulnerable children.
He added that there were currently 646 active safety parents in the province.
“We can stop the violence and murder of children and youth if we all play a part in creating the sort of stable, loving and caring family spaces which are so sorely needed in communities,” he said.
Mr Andrews said women played a key role in society and thanked them for their contribution. “We have heard about the abuse and killings of our children, this is unacceptable, so it is important that residents stand up and take action. “Parents should also teach their children to be respectful yet assertive, whether it might be a stranger or a neighbour. For example, teach them not to kiss anyone and everyone,” he said.
Mr Plato said young people were the future leaders and it was unacceptable that some of them were guilty of abusing and hurting women and children. “Abuse is not something that can be policed, a policeman cannot be placed in a home. Preventing abuse starts at home – how you raise your child, how you instil values and morals in that child, girl or boy.
“Parents, take note how boys treat you as a mother and his sister, because that is how he would be treating his girlfriend. This issue must be addressed but it starts in your home,” he said.
Mr Plato said while Child Protection Week might have ended officially, it was also important to highlight these issues in Youth Month as Women’s Month would be marked soon (in August).
Mr Jansen said in Ward 43 he had a dedicated team of volunteers who worked on the community police forum and in the Victim Support Room. “This issue is real, and we have had enough. We can’t keep hearing about these incidents, let’s be pro-active,” he urged.