Additional trauma support and counselling in Manenberg

Albert Fritz

Western Cape Minister of Social Development

A few weeks ago gang violence and the associated trauma inflicted on the residents of Manenberg peaked at alarming levels.

A task team was immediately set up to address the increased need for trauma support and counselling services in the community.

With limited resources, we needed to increase the reach of our services as many more residents were suddenly confronted with trauma and the need for help. To this end, we partnered with Trauma Centre, a NGO currently rendering trauma counselling services in the area. However, it was clear that their hand would need to be strengthened in order to respond to the increased need for their services.

10 trauma support officers, and 10 trauma counsellors, have been identified and trained to render services and respond to all situations of trauma – not just those linked to gang violence.

The trauma support officers have been recruited from the community and do not do counselling. They contain the situation and offer immediate support to those affected. They have already started rolling out several information sessions at ECD centres in the area, old age homes and other community-based groups. Their role is also to inform residents of the extended trauma counselling that is available at the Manenberg People Centre (MPC) throughout the week.

The trauma counsellors are professional and highly skilled practitioners who render clinical counselling sessions at most of the schools in Manenberg, where the primary clients are learners. They also rotate to render the same quality service to the community at large, from their base at the MPC.

Residents who have in one way or another been traumatised, whether as a result of the gang violence or any other domestic issue, can either sms or phone the call centre at the MPC on 082 444 4191to schedule an appointment with a counsellor.

It is also incredibly exciting that MOD Centres are today being launched by my colleague, Minister Ivan Meyer, at 6 schools in Manenberg. This request was raised during our initial intervention and we are pleased that these additional services are now available to the learners of Manenberg.

Parents and guardians need to encourage their children to attend the after school programmes, that not only provide a safe space, but also positive activities that offer alternatives to anti-social behaviour like gang membership, underage drinking, and drug abuse.

The Western Cape Government will continue to work tirelessly to extend opportunities to people to improve their situation and lead lives they can value.