Andre Page, Westridge
The past two years will be a sad memory to many, remembered for the pandemic, how it impacted economies and the well-being of society.
It will also be seen as a time that helped shape the thoughts of society, as many of us realise and understand that there will be times when the world will experience difficulties, and that no one will be immune to the pain and suffering that comes with it.
We are also reminded of the burdens that plague Mitchell’s Plain and other communities in the Western Cape. However, despite the many social challenges, I still believe that Mitchell’s Plain is a goldmine that holds much potential.
This undoubtedly can be exploited if we align our individual strengths and remove our self-centred agendas.
I confidently say that Mitchell’s Plain is a huge contributor to the economy of the Western Cape, and if we start taking control of our thinking and influence the thinking of those around us, then we are most definitely able to capitalise on and reposition “our land of milk and honey”.
Many in Mitchell’s Plain have come to accept that crime, poverty and unemployment will always be central to our way of living and be seen as the norm in society, but this is exactly what we need to eradicate so that we can lift our community and together build a cohesive environment for future generations.
Mitchell’s Plain possesses so much talent in sports, but because of internal conflict and the lack of vision within leadership structures, we fail to agree about decisions that could help move organisations forward and achieve their goals.
The lack of effective leadership is one of the biggest barriers that prevents positive change from taking place, as we have so-called leaders, who want more to be heard but don’t seem to realise the importance of getting their hands dirty to ensure that their “words are implemented”.
Poverty and unemployment is undoubtedly a reality in Mitchell’s Plain, with many resorting to criminal activities and constantly blaming the government, and also using race barriers that have made job-finding a challenge.
Drug peddling and controlling gangs across Mitchell’s Plain have become a way of life within our community, but if we want to ensure that our children grow up in a safe environment, then we need to – as a collective – address the very scourge that will destroy society.
Finger-pointing has become so common, where the justice system and law enforcement agencies are always in the firing line, but this can change if we continue to engage with the powers that be and make our voices heard.
Each day we hear of facilities being broken down or damaged, infrastructure that is meant to be there for our communities and which tax-paying residents have contributed to.
No-one is immune to crime, but what is evident is that people have lost respect for each other, integrity and leadership are lacking, personal gain has become more of a priority to many, and somehow we are not thinking about future generations and how all this will affect the lives of our children in this growing community.
What message are we sending our children if we as residents continue to protect those who tarnish the reputation of a place which we call home, criminals who sell to our own kids and merrily burgle and rob innocent people of their belongings which they have worked hard for?
Are we allowing our children to accept that there is no real place for them in society except for being drawn into a circle of drugs and crime?
I believe that Mitchell’s Plain can once again be transformed into this safe place it used to be many years ago, but this can only be done if we tap into the available support mechanisms, are prepared to change our thinking to be more visionary and flexible, and also set aside our differences so that we can journey together in the same direction.