Action needed to reduce crime

Cape Times
28 April 2014

Lester September
Liquor Licence & Substance Abuse
The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance
Lansdowne

City and Western Cape Ineffective

While the police need to be commended for the reduction in violent crime since 1995, the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance agrees with the Institute of Security Studies Senior Researcher, Chandre Gould that violent crime remains far too high. The nominal decrease in 2012 from previous years, and crime trends show that simply employing more police is not going to bring down the murder rate.

Cape Town’s violent crime especially needs urgent action, while better allocation of police resources is a must, our violent crime however requires a different approach than simply a call for more police.

In the Western Cape (WC) social development services are mostly outsourced to NGO’s such as Child Welfare, Saartjie Baartman etc. These organisations are doing government’s job but are not appropriately funded by the WC provincial government to be able to make a real difference.

If this was a government department with solely government employees, and a crime trend, such as house robbery, most would be shouting at the provincial government, but because it is an outsourced function, and a crime mostly restricted to the economically depressed on the Cape Flats, the provincial government gets away literally with the highest crime rate in SA, fuelled by the highest social ills in SA, by conveniently blaming police solely for overall violent crime, while ignoring that a large percentage of our crime is fuelled by social ills such as substance abuse with alcohol abuse topping the list.

Historically the Western Cape provincial government is quick to point fingers at national government if they believe not enough funding is made available for policing, however they are just as quick to compare their NGO funding allocation to other provinces. It’s disingenuous quoting spending comparisons with other provinces, while ignoring studies that show the highest social ills in the country fuel 70 percent of the province’s violent crime.

On the Cape Flats gang violence is increasing unabated, and children are being recruited into gangs, while the province and city stumble from one ineffectual plan to the next.

Under Premier Helen Zille’s watch children’s homes have been closed without enough replacements being opened, resulting in volunteer community field workers running around, unable to find accommodation for abused children living in dangerous environments.

Reports of rape, torture, mutilation and murder of children in the province are on the increase. But early-warning programmes are nonexistent on the Cape Flats, as suggested by the rape, setting on fire and later death of nine-year-old Lihle Hlanjwa from Delft, while little in the way of life-skill programmes are being provided in Anene Booysen’s home town and surrounds.

Principal Ruchida O’Shea of Tafelsig High School in Mitchells Plain (“Call for schools to help sexual violence victims” Cape Argus, February 25) complains that Tafelsig has the highest number of teenage pregnancies, rape and gang violence, with little support in dealing with the sexually abused.

Sonke Gender Justice Network head Dean Peacock complained that children needed psycho-social support because of the violence they experienced.

A lack of social workers and psychologists based in schools and communities, to identify problem households and abuses denies children protection. With only “one psychologist for over 50 schools in Mitchells Plain, while some model C schools had one per school” is inexcusable.

The provincial government needs to listen to social workers and psychologists with years of experience at the grass-root level, instead of having colleagues in the city and province sideline them, as is happening in Hanover Park.

The budget allocation by the provincial government to NGOs, is cold comfort to victims of crime, especially when NGOs “doing government’s job” complain of underfunding. For this purpose province must pool the resources (including extra funds) of provincial departments, to deal with social ills in a proactive manner, and demand that the Liquor Board be accountable to the Department of Social Development, while Zille must support the ban on alcohol advertising.

Zille can’t simply finger police for high 2012 crime rates in the Western Cape, when most of the crime is fueled by social ills, which her government has direct oversight over, while the City of Cape Town’s social development department is dysfunctional.

It is not only the GCTCA that has grave concerns about the horrific rate of child murders, the rape of children and child mutilations on the Cape flats, but Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu has also expressed the following deep concern;

“The reality for citizens across broad swathes of the Cape Flats and the surrounding region is that 20 years into South Africa’s democracy they have yet to receive a freedom dividend. They have yet to be freed of the yoke of oppression wrought by gangsters and sex fiends and other criminals. Most of these communities remain as fundamentally dysfunctional as they were when they were first thrown together as racial enclaves in the 1960s and 1970s.”

The City of Cape Town’s insistence on perpetuating apartheid spatial planning by allowing densification developments outside the urban edge, instead of implementing it’s own densification policy, will exacerbate these problems.

Jared Sacks a Journalist and Director of a children’s Non-Profit Organization states ‘The recent publication of South Africa’s racial distribution by Adrian Frith shows how despite the intense segregation in all South African cities, poor so called “non-white” South Africans are most crammed into Cape Town’s ghettos than anywhere else.’

We agree with Tutu that communities must also stand together against this type of crime as done under the United Democratic Front, but we also need Zille to lead and facilitate efficient communication channels between Social Workers and Police.

We applaud the recent announcement by province that provisions in the Draft Western Cape Liquor Amendment Bill, will make it easy for police to shut down illegal shebeens, however Zille and her government are losing the fight against social ills that fuel most of our violent crim e, and we demand results in the curbing of social ills.

 

We propose the following solution:

  • Western Cape government must take responsibility, but also be held accountable for the lack of action in curbing social ills, by Capetonians and residents of the Western Cape
  • Zille and her government must acknowledge that the highest social ills in SA, exist in the Western Cape where we have the second highest alcohol dependency in the world, the highest level of foetal alcohol syndrome in the world and one of the highest rates of drug abuse in the world, all which fuels the majority of the Western Cape’s violent crime.
  • Early-warning programmes must be implemented on the Cape Flats and the Western Cape, to combat child abuse, and that of other vulnerable groups. Where the Western Cape Department of Social Development should draft a list of problem households (where abuses take place) in conjunction with Police, ident ify if these house children and other vulnerable groups, and implement corrective action measures.
  • Life-skill programmes must be implemented in the economically depressed communities across the Western Cape.
  • Social Workers and Psychologists need to be based in schools and communities to identify problem households and abuses.
  • Children in Cape Town’s ghetto’s must be provided with psycho-social support because of the violence they experience.
  • Provincial government must listen to social workers and psychologists with years of experience at the grass-root level, instead of having their colleagues in the city and province sideline them.
  • The budget allocation by WC Provincial government to NGOs, who do governments work in the prevention of child abuse, must take into account that we have the highest social ills in SA.
  • Provincial government must pool the resource s (including extra funds) of the provincial education, community safety, Health and Economic & Tourism ministries/ departments, to deal with social ills in a proactive manner.
  • Zille must demand that the Liquor Board be accountable to the Western Cape Department of Social Development.
  • The WC Liquor Board must be directly accountable to communities they grant liquor licences in, while listening to and accepting objections of communities that face high levels of social ills.
  • Provincial government must support the ban on alcohol advertising.
  • Mayor de Lille should distance herself from the perpetuation of apartheid spatial planning by objecting to developments on or outside the urban periphery (edge).
  • That the South African Police Services 10111 emergency number, include efficient response from Social Workers accountable to Western Cape Social Development Department, where social workers must accompany police to problem households where repeat offences of abuse are reported.

Ref:

  1. Violent Crime halved since 1995 >> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/sa-murder-rate-halved-un-1.1675361#.U05301WSyPs
  2. Halved murder rate ‘still too high’>> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/halved-murder-rate-still-too-high-1.1676229#.U054n1WSyPs
  3. Address the social factors behind violence “We have to address the social factors that increase the likelihood of violence. “>> http://www.bdlive.co.za/opinion/2013/09/19/address-the-social-factors-behind-violence
  4. Girl, 9, survives rape and fire>> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/girl-9-survives-rap e-and-fire-1.1633560#.UwzPreOSyPs
  5. Anine Booysen >> Girl, 17, identifies attacker before dying>> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/girl-17-identifies-attacker-before-dying-1.1465240#.UwzPXOOSyPs
  6. Calls for schools to help rape victims>> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/calls-for-schools-to-help-rape-victims-1.1652414#.UwzQf-OSyPs
  7. Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu (Saturday 22 March 2014 – Weekend Argus) read more>> http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/tutu-s-unity-plea-to-halt-cape-violence-1.1664884#.Uy-ZVaiSyPs
  8. Jared Sacks Racial segregation into Cape Town’s Ghetto – >> http://adrianfrith.com/2013/09/08/dot-maps-of-racial-distribution-in-south-african-cities
  9. Education Rights Project>> http://www.erp.org.za/htm/issuepg_sex.htm

 

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