Community Peace Programmes (CPP) are set to bring together schools in a bid to develop conflict management skills while promoting peaceful communities and human rights, says Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.
Addressing delegates at the PeaceTalks2008 conference in Cape Town on Monday, she said the CPP's would build, refine, maintain and promote an effective and sustainable model of local governance in cooperation with local communities, using conflicts as windows to deepen democracy.
"The CPP has enhanced the self-direction of communities in the development of programmes designed to address local issues including community safety and security.
"It has also fostered an increased collaboration between communities, government and non-governmental agencies in the resolution of a wide range of issues," the minister said.
According to Ms Fraser-Moleketi, CPP was a project of the Institute of Criminology at the Law Faculty of the University of Cape Town and a working model of a solid public/private partnership.
"The CPP is a system of conflict resolution put into action by community based Peace Committees from the Western Cape ... it is a model designed to enable people to manage their own lives and peacefully resolve their own conflict," said Minister Fraser-Moleketi.
The Peace Committees currently operate in 35 sites around South Africa and have, since their operation 10 years ago, successfully dealt with a substantial 15 000 cases.
The issues tackled by the Peace Committees include sexual offences, substance abuse, domestic violence, neighbourhood disputes and money lending.
Minister Fraser-Moleketi said data collected by the CPP indicates that the majority of the participants are female and the biggest occurrences in the cases analysed were issues around money lending.
"Money lending may seem like a small issue but the CPP views disputes as problems, that seem small on the outset, however, if left unattended can escalate into potentially disastrous situations," said Minister Fraser-Moleketi.
The CPP plans to increase the number of schools involved in the programme during this year.
Also speaking at PeaceTalks2008 was MEC for Community Safety Leonard Ramatlakane, and MEC for Education Cameron Dugmore followed by a message of support from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. - BuaNews