Education and youth development were needed to offer positive alternatives for the Bredasdorp youth, community leaders insisted.
This was shared with Community MEC Dan Plato when he visited the town days after releasing the results of a pilot study into the community, which he described as “profound”.
Plato on Friday met with young people and non-government organisations (NGOs) working with the youth following the violent deaths of three girls in the past two years.
Anene Booysen, 17, was raped and disembowelled on February 2 2013, while 5-year-old Kayde Williams was raped and killed in February this year. Her body was found dumped in bushes a day after she went missing.
Elda Jaftha, 15, was found dead under the bed of her 29-year-old boyfriend last month. He has been arrested in connection with her murder.
Plato recently released results from a pilot study his department had commissioned where an independent facilitator conducted 11 investigative consultations with residents, youth, municipality and safety role players.
“The most profound findings came from the youth and violence prevention summit, which saw a focus on gender-based violence, especially on the role of men, in relationship violence,” he said.
Some responses from the young men, when discussing the possibility of young women ending their relationships, included the belief that a girlfriend needed to be punished if she cheated; revenge “in whatever form” should be taken and the man may “date and have sex with her sister, cousin and her best friend – she won’t do that to me”.
“These examples of inter-personal violence are at the core of problems in many of our communities. These are problems that need sustained and long-term interventions from society as a whole to make a difference,” Plato said.
He said his visit to Bredasdorp was not “with the intention of providing all the solutions, but to offer opportunities for our youth”.
‘I am happy government wants to help’
Bredasdorp AFM Church pastor Walters Joubert, who was among those who joined the MEC for a breakfast with religious leaders on Friday morning, told News24 that unhealthy home environments were mostly to blame for the issues plaguing the youth.
“While poverty, drugs and unemployment are big problems facing this town, proper parenting is often not practiced by those raising children,” he said.
“There is a blanket of hopelessness that hangs over Bredasdorp. It’s time this is turned into a positive place for our young people. I am happy government wants to help.”
Social worker Patricia Esau from NGO Siyakhatala Action Group, said education and youth development was a necessity if change was to take place in Bredasdorp.
“The drop-out rate is alarming. Most children are out of school by the age of 15,” she told News24.
“What our youth need is opportunities. Training and skills development can help them turn away from crime and substance abuse and make better, more positive choices.
“While there is a lot going wrong in Bredasdorp, there is still hope. But help is needed to fix what is happening.” News24