ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY
announcement yesterday of the Western Cape Minister for Community Safety of a
programme aimed at the youth of predominantly gang-infested areas, should be
exposed for what it really is. Hennie Bester is making himself guilty of
the cheapest and lowest form of politicking by abusing a real and very serious
problem plaguing the everyday lives of a large section of the community, to
score cheap political points.
For more than a year now the UDM has been pleading with the Provincial
government of the Western Cape and the National government to give attention to
the gang problem in the Western Cape. We have asked for an integrated
approach that would provide lasting solutions that would change what has become
a way of living. These calls, the desperate cries of the affected
communities and the many deaths of innocent victims, many children, have fallen
on deaf ears.
Now, twenty days before the Municipal Government Elections, the Provincial
Minister for Community Safety, Hennie Bester, announces an artificial, shallow
so-called programme to address this problem. Mr Bester should realise that
the people whom he tries to dazzle are victims of vicious acts of gangs and not
stupid! The short-term, election driven approach will not provide the
lasting solutions that are desperately needed.
We plea with the Provincial Minister to handle this 30 year old problem with the
respect and seriousness it deserves. A multidisciplinary approach is what
is needed. An alternative lifestyle for gangsterism needs to be put in
place. From time to time the authorities win the battle against gangs, but
never the war! This is a repetition of the same scenario. It is
short-sighted to think that you can come in, temporarily reduce the level of
crime, leave and consider the problem to be solved.
If Mr Bester is serious about finding a lasting solution, not one aimed at
electioneering, then we urge him to reconsider his approach and demonstrate his
sincerity. A lasting solution will include:
1. The Department of Safety and Security: on an ongoing basis through visible
policing and intelligence gathering.
2. The Department of Education: should play a leading role in developing within
the minds of learners an alternative to gangs. They should also embark
upon teaching learners and the community non-violent alternative conflict
solution skills. The Department should also involve itself in skills
developing programmes for young adults who have left school.
3. The Department of Trade and Industry: Gangs becomes not only a way of living
but also a way of making a living. Enterprise Development programmes
should be established in the communities that would allow for alternative and
legal opportunities for generating income. This is a desperate need that
should contribute to the upliftment of the entire community.
4. 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 facilities and are they sufficient,
or were they put there because somebody somewhere decided this is what the
5. The Department of Public Works: Look at public work projects that ought to be
implemented in these communities, with a view of improving infrastructure and
6. The Departments of Health and 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 it is the 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.
The UDM is sure that there are even more Departments that can and should get
involved. However the overriding determining factor should be the
involvement and acceptance of the community and organised community structures
such as churches.
Hennie Bester's "election ploy" will end up being another problem at
which money is thrown, but no lasting results achieved. For the
communities involved live is no different than 30 years ago. If Hennie
Bester is sincere about his efforts we call on him to approach it in such a way
that will demonstrate his commitment. A lasting commitment that spreads
further than voting on the 5th of December 2000.
Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Safety and Security
14 November 2000