The figures are alarming: with over 451.9 people falling victim to common assault every day in South Africa, 51.2 murders being committed on daily basis, and 42,596 rapes reported in 2015/2016 alone, crime is a big issue in South Africa. With 52 murders a day, the Western Cape is particularly affected; it is the province with the second highest number of murders in the country. Most of these crimes are committed by young people. Facing this disappointing and dire picture, Africa Unite hopefully looks to the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi, as a possibility for real action and change. This, AU took an opportunity to organise a dialogue between the Youth and the Deputy Minister on Saturday the 27th of May in the Fezeka municipality building of the Gugulethu township to learn more about the Minster’s plan to address crime in the Cape Flats.
Gathering the Youth to Talk Crime
The youth is the group most concerned by crime, and therefore Africa Unite wanted to gather them around a platform to address their concerns, as crime affects their education, their personal development, their futures, etc. About 60 young leaders took part to the dialogue with the Deputy Minister of Police. They were from 11 different organisations: Metro Youth Council, ANC Youth, Community Police Forum, Africa Unite, Gugulethu Youth Development Council, St-Mary’s Catholic Church, Youth League, Gugulethu Development Forum, Youth Desk, Somali Association of South Africa. The aim of the dialogue with the deputy Minister of Police was to explore solutions to the issue of crime in the Cape Flats.
The Deputy Minister of Police: “Poverty Doesn’t Compel People to Commit Crime”
The Deputy Minister of Police, Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi, was born in Gugulethu. His mother used to sell second hand products for her children’s education, for food, transportation, and rent; he knows what he is talking about when it comes to crime and poverty. Hon. Mr. Bongani Mkongi followed the good path thanks to the Boys Scouts of South Africa who taught him to value himself, his family and his country. His message to the young assembly was: “Be leaders and show through example.. Poverty compels none to do crime…you always have the choice”. The young assembly was satisfied to see a deputy who had his roots in the Cape Flats community, and who had himself experienced the realities that many in attendance are living. It gives hope.
A Rich Dialogue with many Suggestions to Address the Crime Issue in the Cape Flats
During the dialogue between the Deputy Minister of Police and the youth, the following suggestions were made:
- Support each other as a strong community. When we see someone struggling, support him/ her, when we someone succeeding, do not jealous of him/her
- Engage young people through success stories rather than attaching stigmas to things
- Engage parents and develop education programmes for families
- Support youth development structure, not necessarily financially, but at least through the facilitation of their work
- Address the issue of corruption
- Address the issue of crime inside the police to avoid fear, and gain increased trust from the communities
- Build rehabilitation centres for drug users in the Cape Flats community
- Engage youth from different backgrounds, not only South African youth
- Redirect energy into positive activities through the building of sufficient recreation facilities
- Involve other departments in the dialogue (Education, Social Development, Community Safety…) for a more holistic approach.
Africa Unite is planning a strategic plenary meeting to discuss on how to implement these suggestions.