Manenberg residents have responded positively to the call for mobilisation against gang violence, according to the upliftment organisation Proudly Manenberg.
Concerned about the recent upsurge of gang violence in Manenberg, Proudly Manenberg met with the provincial government last week to discuss strategies to address the issue. Plans for a new safety sector were launched to mobilise a community that is tormented by gang violence.
Action started with the distribution of pamphlets in the area to inform residents of the plan, and asking the community to be part the mobilisation in the area.
Mario Wanza, chairperson of Proudly Manenberg, says the drive was met with great enthusiasm. "Many residents responded by asking how they could help in the fight against gangs, drugs and other social ills," Wanza said.
Speaking at a press conference last week, also attended by the MEC for Community Safety, Leonard Ramatlakane, and Jeremy Michaels, an aide in the premier's office, the vice president of Proudly Manenberg, Father Joshua Louw, told the media the campaign would only be successful if all the partners worked together.
"Individuals can't fight crime alone. With these interventions we can fulfil our overall objective of building a proud and dignified Manenberg through creating opportunities," Louw said.
Ramatlakane added that the provincial government was in full support of the safety sector plan. "Such initiatives show that where communities come together to fight crime, we can all make life safer for our children and schools," Ramatlakane said.
Ramatlakane identified Bishop Lavis, Gugulethu, Hanover Park and Manenberg as hot spots in the recent surge of gang violence.
Wanza said that the Department of Community Safety had committed itself to installing CCTV cameras at hot spots in Manenberg. "After the assessments, a safety team will monitor the situation," Wanza said.
Another issue of concern was the establishment of a drug rehabilitation and support centre for youth addicted to "tik" - crystal methamphetamine.
Jeremy Michaels, speaking on behalf of the Premier's office, said Premier Ebrahim Rasool had taken the issue of a rehabilitation centre to heart.
"We are discussing options and we will be looking to the GF Jooste Hospital, asking them to make beds available for addicts," said Micheals.
Wanza listed some of the interventions that Proudly Manenberg would like to see implemented:
- Establishment of street and court committees and the strengthening of neighbourhood watches;
- Installation of CCTV cameras at hot spots monitored by the safety team;
- Creating jobs through projects such as cleaning and greening the area and repairing schools which have been vandalised;
- Establishment of a training and skills development centre for the youth; and
- Establishment of a drug rehabilitation centre and a support centre for the youth.
Proudly Manenberg held an inter-faith service at which religious groups gathered and addressed the issues.
Manenberg will come to a standstill on 31 January when the community participates in a mass march to show their commitment to building a safe, peaceful and dignified Manenberg.