Speech at Atlantis Youth Safety Forum by Adv. Lennit Max, Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety, Robinvale Community Hall, Atlantis
14 Dec 2009
Dr. Ivan Meyer, MEC Social Development
CPF Chairman, Mr. Trevor Lombard
Pastor Maureen Cloete
Ms. Melinda Smith - Social Development
Thank you for the invitation to address you as well as the recipients of certificates at this ceremony.
I hold our youth very close to my heart and therefore I am very excited about any community projects which aims to empower our youth by teaching them news skills, strengthen their values and giving them the opportunity to take ownership of their personal growth and eventually their life.
The Western Cape need to have programmes in every community where the needs of our youth are addressed by all spheres of government and community groups.
Dames en Here,
Ek was 'n misdaadbestryder vir 27 jaar. Ek is egter ook 'n sterk voorstaander van misdaadvoorkoming, want ek weet dat dit op die langtermyn finansieël goedkoper is.
Deur misdaadvoorkomingsprogramme bespaar dit gemeenskappe soveel trauma en verskaf dit die samelewing net soveel meer tyd om vroeër te stabiliseer en veiliger omgewings vir al sy mense daar te stel.
Ladies and gentlmen,
The Atlantis Youth Safety Intervention started in April 2009 after an upsurge of gang violence in the Robinvale area of Atlantis.
This crisis had a disabling impact on the Robinvale community by sowing fear and trauma, disrupt normal activities (learners walking to schools, people going to taxi ranks) as well as causing fatalities, physical and psychological trauma.
Since then an Atlantis Youth Safety Forum has been established which is coordinated by the Department of Community Safety.
Various stakeholders on this forum played a pivotal role in the sustainability and effectiveness of this youth programme.
They are Community Safety, Social Development, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Transport and Public Works, Education, National Prosecution Agency (NPA),Justice, STP, the City of Cape Town and also the community organisations such as the community policing forum, STP Forum, Womens Organisation, Youth Structures, etc.
The Atlantis Youth Safety Forum also co-ordinates the implementation of various interventions which addresses gangsterism as well as substance abuse.
I want to thank all the stakeholders and wish to see them as permanent partners in all such programmes right across the Western Cape.
Since April a group of 31 youth, as part of the intervention proramme, was involved in a series of activities which included a three day life skills training camp, a twelve week "Alive and Free" Behaviour Change-project and a six session Kemoja Drug Abuse project - seven of those youth are currently on a six day adventure leadership camp funded by Ubomi.
30 Parents of the youth group are receiving parental skills training funded by Social Development. Some of the Atlantis youth are also involved in street soccer (with SAPS and Cultural Affairs and Sport).
Currently a gang graffiti removal project is underway in the Dura flats in Robinvale. Alternative programmes for youth at risk includes sports & recreation, religious involvement and educational programmes.
Dames en Here,
Ek is terdeë daarvan bewus dat alles darem nie maanskyn en rose vir hierdie jeugprogram was nie en dat daar ook talle uitdagings is wat intervensie in die Robinvale-gemeenskap kortwiek.
Terwyl daar nog 'n gebrek aan koordinasie, samewerking in die gemeenskap, sowel as 'n toename in middelafhanklikheid is, glo ek dat die huidge bendekrisis 'n wekroep vir die Robinvale- sowel as die Atlantisgemeenskap is.Die inwoners van Robinvale moet sien dat die krisis, 'n draaipunt vir die gemeenskap kan en sal wees en dat die geskiedenis vir hulle gaan oordeel oor hoe hulle daarop gereageer het.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I stand here, the following words keep jumping in my head: Out of the fierce fire cauldron emerged molten gold?
This intervention by all stakeholders started from a crisis, namely gangsterism, which have the single most devastating capacity to paralyse an entire community.
Gangsterism also remains a symptom of deeper underlying socio-economic stressors in the community that pull our youth into the cauldron of gang activities.
These stressors include: Unemployment, Lack of creational activities, high school drop out rate, dysfunctional families, peer pressure, lack of positive role models, substance abuse and the distribution of drugs.
These factors are addressed in an integrated approach and whilst we need to address this socio-economic structure of the community, the end goal is to produce human capacity in the individual.
It is my sincere belief that it is the individual that needs to be developed and changed, with his or her permission and cooperation.
I believe that an individual can be instrumental in turning the tide against any crisis that want disrupt and paralyse a community.
The gangster-crisis of April 2009 must be a turning point for the Robinvale community as well as Atlantis.
Out of this crisis will step 31 agents of change that have the same potential to unify the people of Atlantis like the Idols winner, Sasha Lee Davids.
We can never say that the youth of Atlantis is "good for nothing" or "only good for Atlantis". The world is and can be their oyster.
The people of South Africa have emphatically stated in the Idols-competition that Sasha Lee is not only good for the Western Cape, but also good ? for the country!
In this regard I find the wise words of an unknown author very fitting for these 31 young people of Robinvale: "Never tell me that the sky is the limit ? when there are footprints on the moon."
These 31 young agents will today and tomorrow echo the inspiring words of this unknown author.
My hope is that all the young people of Atlantis will echo these words too.
Dames en Here,
Gemeenskappe kan nie toelaat dat omstandighede in die gemeenskap kinders en jongmense so demotiveer dat hulle moed verloor en eerder by bendegemeenskappe gaan aansluit nie.
Ongeag die oënskynlike aantrekkingskragte van kitsgeld, aanvaarding en mag, berus bendegemeenskappe op 'n aanname van valse sekuriteit en leë beloftes en is bendes se lewenskwaliteit en lewensduur relatief kort.
Diegene van hulle wat dan wel hul oudag haal, is ongelukkig ekonomiese- en sosiaal 'n las vir die staat, sowel as vir hul gemeenskappe.
Ons kinders is ons toekoms, ons goud, hulle is die mense wie eendag moet goeie beroepe het, sodat u en my pensioene betaal kan word. Daarom moet ons belê in hulle!
Ek dank u.
Source: Western Cape Provincial Government
Issued by: Western Cape Community Safety
14 Dec 2009
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