Building Partnerships to Prevent Violence and Increase Safety
Building Partnerships to Prevent Violence and Increase Safety in Areas Affected by Drug-Related Crimes and Violence
My goal, and the goal of the Western Cape Government, is to make this province a safer place for all its residents.
A safe province allows its people to live and work freely. A safe province attracts skills and investment and a safe province empowers citizens to take charge of their own futures. I will leave no stone unturned to act, within my power, to allow the people of the Western Cape to be free - free from the fear of becoming victims of crime. I believe that the only way to effectively curb crime and violence in this province is to create new partnerships and strengthen existing partnerships. This approach is one which includes the whole of society. This approach makes safety everyone's responsibility.
We can only truly make our communities safer if the people in those communities and the leaders in those communities take responsibility for safety and become more involved to help prevent crime.
The religious fraternity in the Western Cape has proven to be a valuable partner in the fight against crime.
Our faith-based leaders know that only through an integrated approach can we implement short- to long-term interventions.
Our faith-based leaders know that we must reduce the opportunities for crime to occur and we must reduce the motivation to commit crime.
In this way, we can prevent crime from happening in the first place, rather than to just deal with the consequences once a crime has already occurred.
As Minister of Community Safety, I am engaging with you today as a valuable partner in this fight.
The latest crime statistics show high instances of violent crime in the Western Cape and 80% of these are fuelled by alcohol and drugs.
It is well documented that alcohol and drug abuse are major contributors to violence and crime, ranging from organised crime and gangsterism to interpersonal violence and road fatalities.
This province has the highest number of drug-related crimes in South Africa, with 70 588 drug-related crimes reported in 2010/2011. This number is more than double the amount of reported drug crimes compared to the second highest province.
It is also estimated that approximately half of the violent deaths in the Western Cape are alcohol related.
This is why I have called on the national government to reinstate specialised drug and gang units within SAPS. A focused approach by police is needed to tackle drug- and gang-related crime in the Western Cape.
But law enforcement alone will not solve our problems.
Safety is everyone's responsibility and as faith-based leaders you can play a meaningful role in addressing violence.
The people responsible for violence and crime in your communities live amongst you in those communities.
They are the brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins, friends and neighbours of the very people their criminal actions impact on.
This is a fact you cannot wish away.
Your work is a stabilising force in communities and the government recognises your important role.
Your message is one of faith, of moral values, of goodwill and of peace.
We need your message to be instilled in the hearts and minds of our communities.
As community leaders, you are aware of the issues faced by the people you serve. If you are not, you are failing your people.
The same is true for government.
This is why I am extending the hand of friendship - for us to work together.
We must do all in our power to stop the violence, the bloodshed and the killings.
Week after week I visit communities plagued by drug- and gang-related crimes and I am confronted with horrific cases of violence and murder.
The police tell me that between 35 and 45 people are killed every week in the Western Cape.
We know that in most cases the perpetrators involved are known to the victim. That person is more often than not a family member, friend or neighbour.
Crime and violence know no boundaries. Some weeks ago, an 82-year-old woman was raped and, in a separate incident, so was a three-year-old baby girl.
In the Western Cape alone, between 90 and 120 people are sexually assaulted or raped every week.
Once again, in most cases the rapist and the victim are not strangers but know each other.
Today marks the fourth day of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign for No Violence against Women and Children.
This campaign inspires combined action against all types of abuse and its prevention in our communities.
Crime mostly affects the most vulnerable in our society, and women and children are especially at risk. This once again highlights the importance of a joint approach to protect innocent people from violence and crime and to take a united stand against the perpetrators.
I am willing to take the hand of those faith-based leaders who are willing to take mine in this fight.
Over the last few months I have, week after week, reached out to various faith-based leaders and have attended many prayer services and gatherings.
I will continue to do so.
We must continue to work together and to encourage each other in this fight against violence and crime in our respective communities.
My door is open and I welcome your input. I do not profess to have all the answers and I invite you to bring forward your ideas and suggestions.
It is important that we look across society for solutions, because sometimes the answers lie in things that we don't traditionally think of as having a safety role.
Thank you for your prayers and your support. May we receive many blessings today to continue forward to make a meaningful impact towards increasing safety in the Western Cape.