Dan Plato MPP
Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Note: Minister Dan Plato & the Department of Community Safety hosted an evaluation workshop in Bellville yesterday where approximately 31 different religious and faith based organisations were in attendance.
The Western Cape Department of Community Safety has partnered with the religious sector to co-produce conditions best suited for the youth of the Western Cape to feel safer over holidays and during the Festive season. Based on my department’s analysis of the Festive Season’s programmes and feedback from the religious community we will be extending this partnership to run youth safety programmes over the upcoming Eater holiday period.
Meeting with numerous religious organisations that participated in this project over the last holiday period, allowed for further evaluation and the opportunity to identify ways to improve on the existing project in order to continue running these programmes in the future.
The Youth, Safety and Religion Partnership Project (YSRP) started at the end of 2012 and has continued from one successful holiday period to another. We have provided almost R2,5 million in financial assistance to 96 religious organisations working to develop youth social crime intervention initiatives on a local level and in areas affected by gang violence and high levels of crime in the Western Cape. Close to 20 000 youth have already benefitted from this programme.
Too many children and youth have limited access to supervised recreational opportunities particularly in areas affected by crime and domestic violence. It is widely documented that recreational and education opportunities contribute to a young person’s long term physical well-being, confidence and build their resistance to anti-social behaviour.
With a majority of parents at work during the school holidays when the youth are left unattended at home, they are vulnerable to elements of anti-social behaviour. Hence, the YSRP Project provides youth with safe and supervised recreational opportunities that keep them positively occupied and away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
Some of the areas in which the project was rolled out include: Khayelitsha, Steenberg, Worcester, Kraafontein, Wesbank, Elsies River, Mitchells Plain, Woodstock, Delft, Nyanga, Lavender Hill, Langa, Gugulethu, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel, Kensington, Kewton, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Grassy Park, Leeu Gamka, Lotus River, Malmesbury, Mitchell’s Plain, Phillipi, Samora Machel, Oudsthoorn, Fisantekraal, and Knysna.
The Western Cape Government endorses a whole-of-society approach to increase safety in this province. Organisations and individuals play a meaningful role in preventing crime, and reducing the opportunities and motivations for crime to occur – the religious sector is an important partner in this.
[Note: A meeting will be called in March for all interested religious organisations wishing to participate in the Easter School Holiday period. More information will be available in the press closer to the time.]