Speech by Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Sibongile Manana on the occasion of Youth Crime Prevention summit, Bundu Lodge
1 Oct 2009
Executive Mayor of Mbombela Municipality, Cllr Lassy Chiwayo
Acting Provincial Commissioner, Mr RQ Machabi
Head of the Department, Mr IN Khoza
Representatives from different youth formations
Ladies and gentleman
Let me take this opportunity and extend my warmest and fraternal greetings to my colleagues (Mayors and Councillors) and different youth formations representing the aspirations of young people across the Province. As we are gathered here today, we should be mindful of the mandate young people have given us. The manner in which we coordinate those ultimately gives bearing to the end product.
Today most municipalities are experiencing protest marches and other not so peaceful demonstration by communities in need for service delivery. It is the democratic and constitutional right of each and every citizen of this country to participate in a peaceful demonstration. We have, however noticed that some of these demonstrations are not peaceful and illegal. Accidentally in most of these protests, the youth are at the forefront. This alone, programme director, should represent the reality that young people are aware that they are the future.
A close analysis conducted during the recent 2009 general elections shows that young people participated in their majority to make a mark and choose the party that should lead this country forward. It is because of this backdrop that an expectation is legitimately created that young people have a responsibility to defend and protect this democracy.
This cannot be achieved by organising unmerciful protests; it cannot be achieved by burning or destroying state facilities and properties belonging to community leaders. Young people are not going to set a precedent for rioting when something needs to be done. There is no need to create a vicious cycle which will be very difficult to manage in future. Young people should be seen responsible and as a result they should act responsible.
Programme director I felt I needed to give this perspective as a background to my presentation.
It is a fact that the majority of young people are law abiding and have made it their responsibility that they contribute positively to the well being of their communities, thus preparing and securing a bright future for their families, friends, siblings and also for themselves. The small majority of young people committing criminal activities by behaving anti-socially causes a devastating effect for victims, families and communities and consequently their own future.
Ever since this government came into power, it has internalised the tackling of both the causes and consequences of crime by young people. This has also informed the transformation of our criminal justice system.
There is no doubt about the fact that young people are energetic, this has been observed through the struggles that young people have waged and convincingly won, but what dodges all of us is; “how do we successfully channel this energy and win all battles against crime?” I am not suggesting that the current strategies are not working but there is a need to review their impact on fighting crime. We need to make crime unfashionable. If we are to confront the challenges of crime and criminality, we will need to be frontal and change attitudes about crime and its devastating consequences.
The following crime categories have continued to dominate the criminal activities in the province; murder, sexual crimes, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, robbery, drug abuse, robbery and others. Without any doubt, young people are found to be the main players in these categories. This situation need to change, we cannot as country afford to have many of our young people occupying the centre stage of these crimes. Young people must be worried about education, skills development, employment and fight against communicable diseases.
We need to look back at how the youth of the 1940s saw a need to direct all resources at their disposal to fight apartheid and create a united nation where all shall be guaranteed of rights and liberties. The same resources as the ones possessed by the youth of the 1940s are available even right now. All we need to do is to re-focus and utilise these resources correctly. What we do now constitutes the product of what the next generation will reap and enjoy. I am convinced that participating in criminal activities is not a pre-requisite of a successful nation.
Programme director, the world today is very complicated and if we are to succeed in the fight against crime, we will need to adopt and utilise complicated methods and techniques too. Crime is highly organised and young people often find themselves engulfed by organised crime syndicates. When they are part of these syndicates, it is easy for them to access drugs for free. But these drugs are not really for free, young people are then made to perform criminal activities for these syndicates, thus committing crime. As result, young people constitute a large percentage of offenders and victims.
Programme director, we are gathered here today to take stock and map the way forward. As we do that, we are mindful of both our strengths and weaknesses. We also know that given the challenges presented by the economic recession, we will have to optimise our outputs and outcomes with the little resources at our disposal. Government has implemented different initiatives such as the adoption of a cop meant for our schools and other initiatives, to ensure that young people play a role in the fight against crime.
This summit should serve as a platform for young people to define their own strategic intervention measures in the fight against crime. This means that this project should be by young people, owned by young and coordinated and implemented by young people. It should be a youth programme. This project therefore is not a stand alone intervention; it takes into account projects such as the tourism safety monitors and learner cops.
In encouraging mass participation through this project, we should be able to find ways of entering in a memorandum of understanding with the Departments of Education, Culture, Sport and Recreation, municipalities, private sector and community organisations and link with programmes such as the School Sport and Siyadlala Programmes.
The product of this summit should culminate to the establishment of youth community safety forums at municipal level working closely with the multi agency structures (CSF). Obviously, a progressive municipality will take this process to the ward level so as to ensure that as many young people are partners in this programme.
Programme director, we are deliberately taking this route in order to create a dedicated and integrated crime capacity that should be able to facilitate effective crime prevention programmes at local level. This resonates well with the objectives of the national crime prevention strategy and it’s a provincial process in the form of the provincial crime prevention framework.
Government has made a commitment to reduce the rate of crime and through the manifesto of the ruling party; crime is amongst the priorities for the current government administration. Yours is to occupy your space and avail your services to the nation.
Let us rise up and reclaim our streets and occupy all the parks through sport, recreation and other activities. By doing this, there will be little time available to think and consider anti-social activities. We are marching forward to create a new world order, a crimeless society.
In conclusion, let me take this opportunity and wish all learners who will be sitting for their matriculation examination this year, success. You are the leaders of tomorrow and make better use of today.
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Mpumalanga Provincial Government
1 October 2009
Source: Mpumalanga Provincial Government (http://www.mpumalanga.gov.za.)
Issued by: Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison
1 Oct 2009
[ Top ]