‘We have failed our youth’

Johann Kikillus, Ocean View

The latest released crime statistics are again a reminder that the youth of the Western Cape are in dire need of help.

Besides the horrifying increase in murders of women and children, the next most disturbing statistics was the 808 gang-related murders in the Western Cape.

By comparision, the Eastern Cape had 89 gang-related murders.

One must also bear in mind that these figures exclude the murders that were not investigated.

There are probably many bodies lying in the bush somewhere.

At what point do we get shocked enough to take drastic action?

One thing is very clear and that is that whatever plans were put into action by government are not working by any stretch of the imagination.

It is time to admit that we have failed our youth. I will take an educated guess and say that most of these gang-related murders occurred in apartheid-built communities. Most of the communities were dumped in the middle of nowhere some 50 years ago and have been neglected ever since.

It is here that one finds old “ plankie” schools with asbestos roofs and classes of 60 pupils because no one ever thought to build new ones to accommodate the ever-growing population.

Here the flats are overcrowded because no land was allocated.

Here the least amount of police resources are deployed even though each year we see an increase in crime.

If you don’t believe me, then come and walk in Ocean View, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Mitchell’s Plain, Elsies River, Bonteheuwel, and so on.

To be clear, the Western Cape gets millions of tourists every year who spend enormous amounts of cash here, but it seems the money goes elsewhere.

Closer to home, I would love to know how much of the millions of rand that tourists bring to Cape Point Nature Reserve goes to Ocean View redevelopment.

After all, I have met many people who were moved from what is now SANParks land to Ocean View.

If we are serious about fixing our youth in the Western Cape, then we will look for ways to fund new schools, recreational areas, police stations, social development offices, clinics and, of course, redevelop the old apartheid flats.

This will require political will and hard work but will lead to a definite decrease in
that shocking murder rate.