Gang­sters are drag­ging the poor into crime

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TANYA PETERSEN

TWO weeks ago deputy min­is­ter for po­lice Bongi Mkongi vowed to take down gangs in the Western Cape but the ques­tion re­mains as to whether enough is be­ing done to of­fer peo­ple liv­ing in gang-plagued ar­eas an al­ter­na­tive to crime.

El­dred de Klerk, se­nior as­so­ciate at Africa Anal­y­sis, said the myth that crime was com­mit­ted by poor peo­ple needed to be dis­pelled.

“The crim­i­nal econ­omy feeds a lot of peo­ple, but the pro­ceeds to the min­ion – the child soldiers – are crumbs off the ta­ble. But it does feed fam­i­lies. The will­ing­ness of crime bosses to dis­pense wel­fare has a com­mu­nity be­holden.”

He said res­i­dents liv­ing in crime and gang-plagued com­mu­ni­ties were held hostage.

“The res­i­dents store away guns and drugs on their per­son or in their homes. There is a need that can be ex­ploited by or­gan­ised crime. A small group of peo­ple can hold an en­tire com­mu­nity hostage.”

The rea­son this con­tin­ued was that the so­cial de­pri­va­tion gap be­tween rich and poor was wide. “The poor stay poor and the rich keep get­ting richer.”

He added that be­cause of the den­si­fi­ca­tion of cities, peo­ple couldn’t af­ford to get into the hous­ing mar­ket and re­mained liv­ing in crime and gang-rid­den ar­eas.

“Peo­ple are still liv­ing the same way they were years ago.” He said lo­cal gov­ern­ment had a large re­spon­si­bil­ity to play.” JP Smith, may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for safety and se­cu­rity and so­cial ser­vices said it is no se­cret that “un­em­ploy­ment and the as­so­ci­ated so­cial ills lie at the heart of many of our chal­lenges”. “We there­fore urge the pub­lic to take a global view of the City’s en­deav­ours. Yes, we have ini­tia­tives and im­prove­ments within com­mu­ni­ties that are easy to iden­tify and con­nect to an im­prove­ment in their daily lives, but even de­vel­op­ments else­where in the city have po­ten­tial knock-on ben­e­fits.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.