The use of the ‘Must Fall’ hashtag is fast becoming common practice in the fight against injustice in South Africa. Now yet another campaign has sprung up under the popular banner; this time with the hope of bringing about an end to the scourge of gang violence that continues to plague communities across the Cape Flats. #GangsterismMustFall, as the campaign has been dubbed, has been formed by a collective of activists hoping to intensify awareness around the need for an urgent resolve to the gang epidemic.
“It has come to point where we have to put our political difference, our socio-economic differences and every other difference we might have aside. Gangsterism has come to a point where we cannot actually come out of our houses anymore and we can’t live our lives the way we want to,” says campaign convenor Roscoe Jacobs.
The initiative will see concerned members of the public take to the city CBD on Saturday 23rd January for a mass march towards parliament, the targeted being all three spheres of government.
Jacobs says a successful fight against gangsterism can be achieved if all relevant stakeholders involved take responsibility for their respective roles in addressing the problem. This includes an onus on community members to inform authorities when suspecting their child or a fellow community member of having some involvement in criminal activity. Likewise the onus is on local, provincial and national government to improve the conditions of communities where such gang activity is most prevalent.
“It’s about looking how we as a collective of government, business and communities are going to address these issues. It’s not just about us marching on the 23rd (January) and saying that is the end of it, but it is about us looking at it in a pragmatic manner so that we can actually deal with this issue,” he explains.
With local governments on the horizon in 2016, Jacobs has been keen to allay concerns that the campaign might have some political motives.
“We need to, as a collective put our party politics aside, we need to be able to put our personal issues that we may have aside and we need to say that this is what our problems are,” he stresses.
The collective under the banner of #GangsterismMustFall has welcomed the news that the South African Police Service will continue with Operation Fiela during the Festive Season. These activists hope this operation will reduce the loss of life as a result of gang violence during this period on the Cape Flats.
“We call on the National Minister of Police Nkosinathi Nhleko to ensure that during this period Police visibility and deployment is increased in communities across Cape Town where gang violence is a problem. We further call on police to continue their successful operation in these communities in which they have recovered guns and drugs, in so doing making the Cape Flats safer,” says Jacobs.
Jacobs also urges the City of Cape Town to ensure that all street lights and other services remain in operation to prevent communities from becoming breeding grounds for crime, drugs and gangs to cultivate.
“We further call on De Lille to ensure that holiday programmes are running in all community halls owned by the City of Cape Town to prevent youth from joining gangs and taking drugs.
He continued: “We call on communities to report crime and make use of the 10111 number and ask for a reference number. If residents have tip offs Sms CrimeLine on 32211.”
Organisers have urged members of the public to come out and support the march on the 23rd January. VOC