Project to tackle crime in parks
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.