Tafelsig West youth were kept dribbling, defending and going for the goals during soccer games played last week.
Mitchell’s Plain police and the Ajax Cape Town Community Scheme, who have partnered with the Ajax Foundation, the corporate social investment (CSI) trust of Ajax Amsterdam, paid it forward by taking the game of soccer to the streets on Thursday January 18.
In the Hotspot programme, the partners engage with the youth in positive activities, by giving them something to do and not revert to crime.
Riyaad Khan, Ajax Cape Town Community Scheme co-ordinator, said this was the first match for 2018 but that the partnership has been in place for about a decade.
The community scheme is endorsed by SAPS, the British High Commission, the Metropolitan Police of London and Charlton Athletic Football Club.
“The idea is that for the one-and-a-half hours, we (Ajax) are there youth are not engaged in criminal activity.
“They are either speaking or playing with the police, who need the community’s help to solve crime,” he said.
Mr Khan said with the game they are able to help the police build trust with the community.
Similar projects are held across the Cape Flats and township areas, even as far as the Cape Winelands, for children regardless of race, gender, social status or disability.
The Ajax Cape Town Community Scheme project is facilitated through structured programmes in a safe, fun, learning environment.
Captain Ian Williams, Mitchell’s Plain police spokesman, said the project is being run in Tafelsig West, noted as a crime hot spot, where recent shootings have happened.
“Community mobilisations and other activities are also being planned in the area as SAPS is engaged in efforts to stabilise the situation in partnership with the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) and other stakeholders,” he said.
Captain Williams said residents commended the police for their presence in the area.