Minister Plato Expresses Concern over Khayelitsha Youth Gang Activity | Western Cape Government


Minister Plato Expresses Concern over Khayelitsha Youth Gang Activity

23 January 2012

Media Statement by Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety

I am deeply concerned following reports of recent gang activity in Khayelitsha, an area not traditionally known for gangsterism, and more worryingly, that these gangs appear to be run by school children. A two-pronged approach is needed to address these issues - law enforcement and a holistic "whole of society" approach.

I am once again calling on the National Government to introduce specialised drug and gang police units in the Western Cape to provide specialist law enforcement interventions to address these types of crime. This recent spread of gangsterism into areas not traditionally associated with gangsterism is not something to be taken lightly.

As part of the ongoing work emanating from last year's Khayelitsha Safety Summit, I will be inviting the parents in Khayelithsa to a community meeting where they can bring their children and find out about the after-school alternatives that the Western Cape Government is offering our youth. These alternative opportunities can go a long way in preventing our youth from becoming involved with gangsterism.

My colleague, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Ivan Meyer, runs a Sport MOD centre programme from his department at more than 100 schools around the Western Cape. The MOD centre programme provides learners in both primary and high school with free after-school sport activities. Six of these MOD centres operate in Khayelitsha from 14:00 to 18:00 every school day, and offer learners an alternative to the anti-social behaviour they may otherwise be engaging in while their parents are at work. Numerous sports are available to all ages and both boys and girls.

The Khayelithsa Neighbourhood Watch, local Community Policing Forum and SAPS will also be in attendance at the community meeting. The Criminal Justice System - the police, the courts and government - has a critical role to play in the protection of our citizens, but as I have said so many times before - safety is everybody's responsibility and we need our communities to do their part too. The solution lies in working together. Crime and criminality cannot be eradicated without the support of all the residents of our communities.

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Greg Wagner
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