Gangsters are dragging the poor into crime
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.”