Gino Contaldi, Tafelsig
Amid the reports of innocent people being killed on the Cape Flats recently, it is very disappointing to read the responses of various politicians, officials and community activists. Government departments and specific officials point fingers at one another; while they are blamed for not doing enough to stop these crimes.
The reality, however, is that none of these is responsible for the senseless killings of these victims.
No police or security intelligence could have anticipated any of these violent incidents at this specific point in time, or in their specific locations.
If some of these attacks were not committed by gangsters, then they were definitely done by organised criminals who aim to destabilise these areas.
This is indeed how the forces of evil operate. They are never happy when people seem to be at peace.
These evildoers therefore do not need any specific motive to do evil.
They may simply perform random acts of wickedness, thereby deriving pleasure from the pain of others.
The onus is on communities to help foster respect for their fellow man and respect for human life; which starts with instilling Godly values.
It is the lack thereof which lies at the root of many violent crimes.
Residents and their religious and social organisations have to work more closely together with the law enforcement authorities in this regard, especially to help with crime prevention. Having said that, intelligent policing using advanced strategies and various smart technologies, is indeed still required to help prevent, minimise and address the incidence and severity of crimes by gangsters and related community terrorists.
It is by being proactive, rather than reactive, that solutions will really be sustainable.
To start addressing these problems at community level, free individual and group counselling and guidance sessions per area per week could perhaps be made available.
DVDs of actual counselling sessions which could be watched at home could also be freely distributed.
Counselling will help people deal with unresolved issues that make them potential criminals; thereby changing their mindset to refrain from evil.
Also, free basic counselling short courses could be offered in community halls and church buildings.
Because most of these crimes are committed by unemployed young males, they should be the main target group.
These courses will serve as empowerment for themselves, and empower them to be lay counsellors for their peers in the neighbourhood.
Counselling would also be made more easily accessible then.
The departments of Social Development, Health and Justice would be the key drivers of this counselling intervention.
Such counselling sessions should also be implemented at high schools in gang-infested areas in the medium-term, while people are still teenagers.
Rather than just employing more police officers, the government should also consider community workers. At least three key community workers per area could be paid an allowance, to act as “community influencers”.
This allowance would enable them to be dedicated and full-time in the long-term prevention of violent crimes in their areas.