The Dewani saga (the “Tourist Honeymoon Murder” that has gained international media attention) has reinforced negative stereotypes about both Gugulethu and Khayelitsha townships. As a response to the negative attention focussed on their community, the Gugulethu Youth Development Council (GYDC) has taken a stand against crime in their community by initiating an open dialouge for residents to voice their concerns and brainstorm about solutions.
The Council organised a press conference at the popular neighbourhood hangout, Mzoli’s Place, in Gugulethu on November 18th to address the harsh reality of crime facing South Africans.
The aim of the conference was to encourage the people of Gugulethu to participate in a public forum where they could discuss possible solutions to prevent incidents of crime, like the highly publicised Dewani incident, that have tarnished the name of their community.
The chairperson of GYDC, Sonwabo Ngxumza, said that it is important for his organisation to encourage all residents to become involved in crime prevention. Residents are requested to challenge local business owners to participate in existing community safety initiatives.
He also said that to make their township better, young and old people must get involved with structures that fight crime like the Gugulethu Youth Development Forum,the Gugulethu Police Forum as well as the GYDC.
The secretary of Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), Wandisile Ngeyi, added that stakeholders, businesses, government and civil society should all come on board to set up a statutory community structure that will fight against crime in these areas. He suggested that “a form of stipend [be paid] to those [residents] who will be patrolling at night [which] can be backed- up and supported by government and businesses” as one way to promote partnerships between businesses and residents.
Ngxumza said he “is very delighted that they have reached a large number of people and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to be held next year”.
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