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City Hall to host anti-crime conference

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Some of the major role players in the safety and security sector are set to gather for an anti-crime conference at City Hall on Thursday. The conference will look to bring about both short and long terms solutions to the raging levels of violence in the province.

Thursday’s gathering will bring together representatives from all spheres of the community, from various NGO’s, municipalities, religious groups, the City of Cape Town mayoral committee, as well as the local police services. The conference will also be attended by national police minister, Nkosinathi Nhleko; provincial community safety MEC, Dan Plato; and Western Cape police commissioner, Arno Lamoer.

According to Cosatu provincial secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, the meeting was an attempt to bring together all the relevant role-players in the province, to address the lack of solutions being brought forth to tackle the issue of crime.

“The domination of gangs, and the scourge of drugs is tearing apart the social fabric of our society and there is no commensurate response from any of the agencies,” he said.

Ehrenreich said it was imperative to find a way to harness all the role-players, and avoid entertaining “petty politics” with issues of crime. He said the meeting would take a non-partisan approach to the issue, instead mobilising the community to take the lead in the fight against crime.

“We’ve seen politicians just playing petty politics, and blaming each other on these issues for party political reasons. As long as that trend continues, we are not going to find any comprehensive solutions,” he said.

Amongst the steps to be taking into consideration during the conference, would be how to respond to crime, in particularly the issues of gangsterism and drugs, in the long, medium and short terms. Ehrenreich suggested that more remedial action was needed, such as the opening of centres to help rehabilitate and provide social activities for the youth.

“In the long term, we’ve got to restore hope. We’ve got to build the structure of society that will ensure young people understand that with application, dedication and hard work, they will be able to find the way forward and that there is hope for the future,” he explained.

He noted that huge emphasis would also be placed on unemployment, and the factor it played in driving people towards crime. The issue would be a key part of Thursday’s discussion, along with the huge levels on inequality amongst society.

“All of these issue have to be addressed if we are going to come to a societal response, that ensures that we are able to bring about lasting solutions,” he said.

The conference will take place on Thursday 21st August at the City Hall, from 11am onwards. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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