What’s the plan for the festive season?

Johann Kikillus, Soteria Ministries director, Ocean view

In 2021 we saw an increase in school drop-outs at Ocean View Care Centre. Sadly, many of these youngsters, especially between the ages of 13 and 16, have started using drugs and even been recruited into gangs. I have had many mothers come to us for help after they say they have nowhere to go. The Children’s Act is very clear that minors involved in drug use or criminal activity need intervention. We cannot have more funerals for our young people over the holidays, so we need to have a plan that is accessible to all parents and youth.

I am hereby asking the Department of Social Development and NGOs to please explain what assistance is being offered throughout the festive season.

Also, there has been an increase in shootings recently and many residents have expressed concern that things could escalate before Christmas. Please could the community police forum, political parties, NGOs, religious leaders, and gang members have a meeting very soon to address these fears? I look forward to seeing what action will be taken.

• Joshua Chigome, spokesperson for Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez responds: Despite the challenging circumstances brought about by Covid-19, the department continues to provide a wide range of services, opportunities, and support to the youth of the Western Cape.

For the current financial year, R14.974 million has been budgeted towards ensuring that at least 10 000 youth in the province are provided with opportunities to access skills and personal development programmes.

The department funds 27 non-profit organisations to provide opportunities for training and development, with a particular focus on those youth who are not in education, employment and training across the province.

The department, in conjunction with NPOs, also provides a wide array of programmes, ranging from prevention, early intervention through to community-based and in-patient rehabilitation and aftercare services.

Services offered by the department and its NPO partners for youth include awareness; primary prevention; early intervention; aftercare services; specialised services for victims of gender-based violence; specialised treatment for youth between 13 and 17, at funded inpatient treatment centres; residential or inpatient treatment centres and community-based outpatient treatment centres; and reintegration and after-care support.

• Ocean View Police spokesman Sergeant Mfundo Nyengane responds: Upon the commencement of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, which runs from Thursday November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) until Friday December 10, the Ocean View SAPS and CPF had a walk about in the streets of Masiphumelele informing victims of crime that help is available. We will continue to do this in Ocean View and Masiphumelele during this time.