The renewed gang violence in Cape Town requires an urgent, integrated approach involving all three levels of government. The loss of more than 100 lives this year alone in gang related incidents underline the seriousness of this problem. The current situation can be compared to a state of emergency.

The ad hoc deployment of SANDF and SAPS members to certain hot spots occurs on an ad hoc basis and contributes little to stop the problem in its track. The Unicity plans the introduction of a Unicity police force and the provincial government calls for community involvement. The establishment and training of such a force will take precious time that we do not have. Calling for the involvement of the very community who is under siege is naive and indicates the complete lack of understanding for the extent of the problem and the effect it has on the community.

The UDM asked its President, Bantu Holomisa MP, to contact President Mbeki as a matter or urgency. Immediate action is required at the highest level possible.  The UDM, Western Cape, proposes as follows:

That President Mbeki immediately sets up an integrated co-ordinating committee to suggest and implement action plans. National, provincial and local government role players, political parties, civil society (schools, churches, business, NGOs etc) should all form part of it.

The best possible intelligence people from the SAPS be made available to fully investigate and formulate an understanding of the problem. They should make use of international experts where necessary. This was done when bombs exploded in Cape Town.

That the matter be addressed in a holistic manner and a two-fold approach be considered. Firstly, immediate action by the SAPS and the courts, and secondly a medium term programme to implement socio-economic upliftment programmes in certain areas of Cape Town to eradicate the culture of gangsterism, introduce alternatives and prevent "breeding grounds" for it. This should include:

    - Programmes in schools and amongst the youth at risk
    - Entrepreneurial programmes to train young people and create employment
    - Infrastructural development to stimulate economic growth, and create recreational facilities

The UDM is convinced that such a plan is the only solution for a very complex problem. Urgent attention at the highest level is a MUST.

Grant Twigg
UDM Provincial Secretary

Cape Town
16 May 2001