The lack of planning is appalling in the Western Cape

Cape Times
5 May 2014

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

THE GREATER Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) notes MEC Albert Fritz’s response (“Reducing crime and tackling social ills requires the whole of society to participate”, Cape Times, May 2). Quoting spending comparisons with other provinces merely serves to deflect the failures of the Western Cape provincial government to reduce the highest social ills in South Africa.

The need to close children’s homes that don’t meet desired standards is not questioned; however, the appalling lack of planning, resulting in insufficient replacements, is shocking.

While provincial government might believe that there are enough homes for emergency cases, volunteers are running around unable to find accommodation for abused children living in dangerous environments.

While we acknowledged in our op-ed that society must play a role, we don’t see any acknowledgement from the province and Premier Helen Zille that the reduction of social ills and substance abuse is primarily their responsibility not societies. Instead, they accept no responsibility and divert accountability to the SAPS and society leaving the fight against social ills leaderless.

The budget allocation by the province to NGOs and combating social ills is cold comfort, as this ignores that social ills fuel the majority of violent crimes. The numbers presented on how many social workers employed by WC social development; the larger number of NGOs funded for social welfare services, NGO social worker posts, that community police forums complain how difficult it is to have department social workers attend meetings, and that the public are constantly being referred to NGOs by the department makes a mockery of province’s denials of NGO claims that they do government’s work.

Province’s unwillingness to take responsibility and acknowledge that the highest social ills in our nation fuel the Western Cape’s violent crime, while the lack of early-warning and life skill programmes across ttre Western Cape explains why crime remains so high.

The main problem with the WC liquor authority is that they are not directly accountable to the Western Cape Department of Social Development, and to communities they grant liquor licences.

Worryingly that the perpetuation of apartheid Spatial planning with densification developments on or outside the urban periphery (edge), worsens the problem is conveniently ignored by the province.

The reality is that the province has direct oversight over reducing substance abuse via the Department of Social Development, while implemented plans are ineffective in reducing these ills. The lack of responsibility and accountability from province goes some way to explain why we continue to have one of the highest social ills in the world.

1 comment to The lack of planning is appalling in the Western Cape

  • Tasleem Ras

    I agree wholeheartedly with the argument being put forward. Health and education are bearing the brunt of social problems particularly in relation to child health and safety. The DSD must do some serious introspection and come to the party. Public servants must lead, and not wait for underqualified politicians toguide them

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