Community Groups Come Together to Fight Crime

On Saturday, various safety and community groups came together for the launch of the United Public Safety Front. These include community policing forums, neighbourhood watches, civic associations, religious and sports organisations.

The idea is for the groups to work together as one on a safety plan which will be implemented in communities across the Western Cape. Keynote Speaker, Trevor Manuel stated that these groups knows more about public safety than anyone else, hence it is important for them to work together.

The Safety Front’s cofounder, John Cloete, didn’t mince his words when he said that he believed that government did not have a plan to fight crime. He said that the Safety Front was established because there is a need for the community to come together, take control of their neighbourhoods and keep it crime-free.  He did however stress that this did not mean that community members have to take the law into their own hands.  “It’s our aim to discuss a wide range of issues and then to set an agenda. We will then engage government on the concerns raised by the community and we’ll find workable solutions, so that government and the community can work together to reduce crime,” says Mr Cloete.

The Safety Front’s Chairperson, Dr Llewellyn McMaster said that there is a deep sense that the state has failed communities and police are not really doing what they are supposed to do. “In some communities residents are taking the law into their own hands and we do not want that. We want the state to provide safe spaces for our people. We decided it is time to unite communities to tell the state, ‘This is what we want,'” said Dr McMaster.

Mr Manuel emphasised that the situation on the Cape Flats is getting worse for poor people with more drug dealing and more gangsterism. He added that when women and children are not safe in their communities, then we can’t celebrate Human Rights Day. He hopes that the forum will be used as a platform to exchange ideas in an effort to improve the situation. “It should also be a forum for training and learning. We need to be better at what we do,” said Mr Manuel.

Source(s): (edited from an article by Monique Mortlock), other