STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY
report and findings of the Joint Forum on Policing do not come as a surprise to
the UDM. Since the latest flare-up of gang related violence in the Western
Cape, we have on more than one occasion warned that we believe the right
approach is not taken. Furthermore the fact that gangsterism became part
of National Priority Crimes and Operation Crackdown as an afterthought,
illustrates the insensitivity and inability of the SAPS to deal with this
The fact that this is not a new problem, but almost 30 years old, confirms
the UDM's belief that gangsterism has become
a way of life and that the way of living should be changed in order to make a
difference. As much as children grow up in communities without gang
activities, finish school, study or find a work, the circle for children within
gang infected communities, more often than, not ends up with gang membership.
This becomes a way of life; it becomes a way of making a living.
We support the plea for a more holistic approach. In fact, the UDM two
weeks ago asked the Minister of Safety and Security to adopt a multidisciplinary
approach. An alternative lifestyle to the lifestyle of gangsterism needs
to be put in place. Without an alternative, there remains for a majority
of Cape Flats community members no other choice than gangsterism.
The SAPS and Government from time to time win the battle against gangs, but they
never win the war. It is shortsighted to think that you can come in,
reduce the level of violence, leave and consider the problem to be solved. The
communities affected by gang violence must be involved in finding a solution.
They should be driving the process of creating an alternative, with the state
providing the necessary infrastructure and support.
The UDM would like to see the following Departments and Ministries involved: 1.
The Department of Safety and Security: on an ongoing basis through visible
policing and intelligence gathering.
2. The Department of Education: This department should play a leading role in
developing, within the minds of learners, an alternative to gangs. They
should also be involved in training learners and the community in non-violent
conflict solution skills. The Department of Education should involve
itself in the community in skills developing programmes for young adults who
have left school.
3. The Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Arts, Culture,
Science and Technology: An assessment of the recreational activities of these
areas must be done and a study conducted to determine the requirements and needs
of the communities involved. Are there recreational facilities and are
they sufficient, or were they put there because somebody somewhere decided this
is what the community wants?
4. The Department of Trade and Industry: Gangs becomes not only a way of living
but also a way of making a living. This Department should look into the
possibility to establish Enterprise Development programmes within these
communities that would allow for alternative and legal sources of income.
Enterprise Development programmes are desperately needed for the benefit and
upliftment of the whole community.
5. The Department of Public Works: This department should look at public work
projects that can be implemented in these communities, with a view to improving
infrastructure and creating jobs.
6. The Department of Health and the Department of Welfare for the obvious
contributions that they will be able to make in terms of counselling and health
training with regard to issues such as substance abuse, AIDS and teen pregnancy.
7. Local Government must be involved since its is this level of Government that
is the closest to the community and in many ways are best placed to assess the
true needs of the community.
There are more departments that can, and should get involved. However, the
overriding determining factor should be the involvement of the community and
organised community structures such as churches and civics. If Government
fails to get the community involved we will end up with another problem, at
which money was thrown, but no results achieved and it will continue for another
As long as the gang problem is not addressed, democracy and freedom will not be
a reality for these communities. For them life is no different than 30
Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson Safety and Security
1 June 2000