Project to tackle crime in parks

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - MASABATA MKWANANZI @Sa­bie_M

RE­CLAIM­ING Joburg parks through sport and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity was piv­otal to dis­cus­sions at the Wits Ori­gins Cen­tre yes­ter­day.

Jo­han­nes­burg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) hosted a di­a­logue on the role of sport in pub­lic spa­ces to re­duce crime, when it launches its pi­lot project.

The pi­lot project will start with the ren­o­va­tion of the End Street North Park in Hill­brow. The project is in part­ner­ship with Jo­han­nes­burg City Parks and Zoo, pub­lic safety and sticky sit­u­a­tions.

Ayanda Roji, of JCPZ, said the project seeks to over­come safety chal­lenges faced by the com­mu­nity in pub­lic spa­ces.

She said their sur­vey showed that the com­mu­nity raised is­sues of safety and not be­ing able to ac­cess parks.

“Parks that are in the in­ner city are faced with many prob­lems such as drug abuse and peo­ple get­ting mugged… These is­sues need to be ad­dressed in dif­fer­ent ways,” said Roji.

She added that the End Street North Park, set to be com­pleted in Oc­to­ber, would be a clear in­di­ca­tion of what they wanted to achieve in terms of hav­ing a safer in­ner city.

It would also pro­mote more sport and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Jacque­line Nzis­abira, of the UN’s En­tity for Gen­der Equal­ity and the Em­pow­er­ment of Women, said one of the uni­ver­si­ties in the US part­nered with the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide mar­tial arts classes for the peo­ple. The US gov­ern­ment would pay one trainer to work with the whole com­mu­nity.

Nzis­abira said the ini­tia­tive re­sulted in more peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing dur­ing late hours and feel­ing safe.

“Sport can be an el­e­ment of not only life­style im­prove­ment, but so­cial co­he­sion and also en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to feel safe around pub­lic spa­ces,” Nzis­abira pointed out.

She added that women and chil­dren also ex­pe­ri­ence sex­ual vi­o­lence in pub­lic spa­ces.

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