Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says government plans to scale-up collaborative interventions to tackle gangsterism in the Cape Flats.
Responding to questions to Ministers in the Social Services cluster on Wednesday, Zulu said socio-economic programmes are aimed at preventing young people from participating in gang activities.
“Going forward, our plan is to scale-up collaborative interventions that empower young people and [the] communities in which they live to deal effectively with gangsterism and associated challenges.
“I therefore urge all members to join hands with government and communities across the country to wage an unrelenting fight against gangsterism and illicit drugs. But, we must also go deeper into why are we here and why are the drug lords in [the] main always roaming the streets and sending children out into the streets,” she said.
Responding to a question from Mogamad Hendricks, who had asked if there are programmes that can unleash a socio-economic response to gangsterism on the Cape Flats and give the youth hope for a better life, Zulu said the department has a number of prevention programmes targeting youth at risk of gang involvement.
“Adding to that, gangsterism and gang violence is a cross-cutting issue that no single department or entity can solve alone.
“To this end, we have adopted a whole of society approach by working with a number of key partners such as the Department of Basic Education, the South African Police Service and [the Department of ]Justice [and Constitutional Development], among others, to implement social behavioural change programmes focussing on prevention, early intervention statutory, re-integration and aftercare services.”
Among these, include ‘You Only Live Once’, or YOLO, which targets 15 to 24 year olds; Chomi, focusing on 10 to 14 year olds aimed at developing skills empowering children to make informed choices to reduce HIV infections and substance abuse.
“Boys Championing Change, Men Championing Change, seeks to involve boys in advocacy in social mobilisation campaigns,” said the Minister.
Another programme, Resega, is a community-based prevention and early intervention mechanism targeting children and youth at risk, while Ke Moja – I am fine without drugs – is a national substance abuse prevention programme implemented in all nine provinces.
She also spoke of Specialised Community-based Probation Services, which includes diversion, pre-trial and pre-sentence psycho-social support to children and youth in conflict as well as psycho-social support as early intervention programmes to create resilience amongst children.
“These interventions seeks to involve and empower young people and their families as active social actors in their own development rather than passive recipients of services.”
In addition to these interventions, government is working jointly with civic society and community-based organisations to implement the following programmes in the Cape Flats:
Rhythm of Life,
Playing through the forest wake-up call;
Stop to Start, a school and community-based lifeskills parenting workshops; and,
The holiday programme.
“These interventions are targeting children and youth aged 10 to 18. The four interventions seek to compliment national efforts, notably the Anti-gang Strategy led by the Minister of Police in a number of areas.”