With the number of gang and drug related crime in Manenberg soaring, the provincial government has launched a plan to keep the youth occupied during the coming school holidays. The announcement came on Tueday morning when the Youth Safety and Religious partnership programme hosted a breakfast in Manenberg to discuss the opportunity to partner with the Department of Community Safety during the school holidays in order to provide holiday programmes for youth in the area.
Religious leaders from the area were present at this breakfast and are part of the partnership to create opportunities for youth during the holidays to minimise the risk of them falling prey to negative social behaviours such as drug abuse and gangsterism.
“Manenberg is an important area for government with regards to gangsterism,” said MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato.
This programme is currently in its 3rd year and will target youth in 50 different areas across the province.
“We can’t do it alone as a government. We have to employ many people and there are entities in the community such as the religious forums. They want to do something positive, but they don’t have very many resources so as government we assist with these resources,” Plato continued.
Since the beginning of 2015, the Department of Community Safety has embarked on numerous youth focused safety outreach programmes and has an existing partnership with Northlink college to assist in increasing youth safety by targeting younger Manenberg residents.
The Chrysalis Academy set up in 2000 runs a three month youth development programme for youth across the Western Cape who are not in employment, education, nor training, have a minimum Grade 9, no criminal record and who are residents of the Western Cape.
“I think it could become a major partnership between government and the religious forum in every community,” Minister Plato went further.
“It is quite essential that the government get involved with these projects and it shows that shows government involvement has improved the rolling out of meaningful projects in the community” Moulana Aslam Cassiem explained whilst seated at the breakfast that was hosted today.
“The notion that we must not talk to our youngsters and not engage with the youth is nonsense. We must not accept what is happening on the Cape Flats,” the Minister said.
Plato noted that by fighting this problem with religion and by working together with religious leaders and the youth, that a solution may present itself.
Pastor Sam Henkerman Apostolic Faith Mission church in Manenberg was present at the breakfast and was optimistic about the success of this programme.
“I think it is one initiative that will be successful as it adds value to what the province wants to do in terms of safe keeping and giving our kids another opportunity ”, the Pastor explained.
Programmes and activities on offer focuses on awareness and prevention of drug-abuse, gangsterism, gender-based violence, child trafficking, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy as well as provide youth with life skills development and practical safety tips. VOC (Umarah Hartley)