Minister Plato Launches “Life Counts” Initiative During Youth Month
On Saturday, 9 June 2018, the Department of Community Safety hosted the Youth Month Launch at Athlone Stadium, Cape Town, as a part of the Department’s youth outreach, empowerment and development efforts.
With more than 2 000 youth attending the Youth Month launch, the event is deemed the biggest youth event hosted by the Department to date. The event also drew the interest of Walking Bus co-ordinators and volunteers from more than 50 communities across the Western Cape, including areas as far as George, Beaufort West, Merweville, Robertson, Worcester and Saldanha.
Various organisations and our safety partners supported this event, including Western Cape Police Commissioner Lt. General Khombinkosi Jula, CEO of Chrysalis Academy, Lucille Meyer, as well as municipal representatives, Councillors Franchesca Walker and Magedien Davids of the City of Cape Town and Councillor Geraldine Kordom of the Saldanha Bay Municipality.
Themed “Life Counts”, the event confirmed the Department’s commitment to reach out to young people through targeted intervention and strategic partnerships in communities. This specifically refers to preventative and diversion programmes aimed at countering the social ills affecting young people from across the Western Cape Province.
We want to see ongoing peer mentorship programmes continue in many of our vulnerable areas to help the youth of our province navigate issues and challenges life might throw their way.
Through partnerships with religious institutions we strive to provide alternative leisure activities and guidance to vulnerable youth and youth at risk, to prevent them from becoming entangled in gang-related or high-risk activities. These remain the Province’s leading causes of deaths of young people, according to Lieutenant General Jula.
These collaborative efforts by the Department of Community Safety and its stakeholders - the South African Police Services, Community Safety Forums, Walking Bus Groups, Neighbourhood Watches, the Chrysalis Academy, the Youth Safety and Religion Partnership Programme, Community based organisations, local police forums, the Northlink College Bursary Programme, and other Government Departments, seek to develop and maintain long term solutions to curb youth exposure to gang violence, while empowering them to reach their full potential.
More than 44 communities have already committed to joining the “Life Counts” programme, and will participate in the various programmes and upcoming Annual Youth Conference. These areas include Knysna, Mossel Bay, Worcester, De Doorns, Beaufort West, Mitchells Plain, Ocean View, Lavender Hill, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Langa, Manenberg, Delft, Kraaifontein and Wesbank. These programmes could include performance arts, art classes and exhibitions, sporting activity, film shows, safety awareness presentations, career guidance, workshops focusing on the improvement of self-esteem/image and social challenges and campaigns aimed at peer mentoring and spiritual awareness.
In his address, Lieutenant General Jula called on youth to make safety their responsibility: “Violence and crime has never improved anyone’s life. Let us all commit young people to meaningful projects that will grow and build them to be future leaders,” said General Jula.
He went on to allude to SAPS’s efforts to work hand-in-hand with young people in ensuring safer spaces: “From SAPS in the Western Cape Province, we undertake through our provincial youth desk to engage young people in crime prevention initiatives aimed at creating and maintaining safety,” General Jula concluded.
Minister for Community Safety, Dan Plato delivered the keynote address in which he urged the youth to practise self-development: “I want to urge the youth of this province to make their “Life Count” every day, in every moment and utilise the different opportunities available, through the Department of Community Safety or any other sphere of government or non-governmental organisation,” Minister Plato said.
“Life is all about making choices and I want you, the youth, to start making better choices for yourself and for your future, because your Life Counts,” Minister Plato concluded.
As the Department of Community Safety, we have the following opportunities available for youth in the Western Cape:
Sign up to join the academy which offers a 3-month intensive residential life skills programme to provide young people (between the age of 18 – 25) with the necessary tools to become self-confident, resilient role models and leaders within their communities. The criteria are as follows; those who are not in employment, education, or training, have a minimum Grade 9, no criminal record and who are residents of the Western Cape.
Through a partnership with Northlink College, the Department provides youth with bursaries to assist them in returning to school and pursuing further education or training. Applications may be made to Northlink or you may email your application to Jemayne.Andrews@westerncape.gov.za.
Through a partnership with the religious sector, the YSRP programme aims to remove youth from the streets, especially in high risk areas, during the school holidays. These programmes are envisaged to contribute towards creating safer communities. A programme for the June/July school holiday is available here.
For more information on the Department’s Youth Month initiatives, please contact Project Manager, Jemayne Andrews via email on Jemayne.Andrews@westerncape.gov.za.