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African News Agency
31 May 2016 20:10
CAPE TOWN, May 31 (ANA) – Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was on Tuesday blamed by the community movement #GangsterismMustFall for youth involvement in gangs on the Cape Flats.
On the eve of Youth Month in South Africa and International Children’s Day commemorations, it said she had neglected the well-being of young people to the point where they were increasingly turning to gangs.
“Being a youth in Cape Town is definitely not easy,” said #GangsterismMustFall convenor Roscoe Jacobs, “We live in the Mother City but our mother has been absent and ignorant in addressing the struggles young people face.”
“This, we believe, has resulted in an increase in youth in gangs and the culture of gang violence as fostered by the Mother of the Mother City, Mayor Patricia De Lille,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs, who is also a Hout Bay community activist and a member of the African National Congress Youth League, said that De Lille’s alleged failure to prioritise youth development in her term of office has resulted in “the perpetuation of gang culture in Cape Town”, specifically among young people on the Cape Flats and in townships.
“We live in a City where we estimate that one person a day is killed as a result of gang violence [and] where it is easier to join a gang than stay in school and/or get a job,” said Jacobs.
He said that the voice of young people in Cape Town had fallen on deaf ears, with the the local government to blame. Due to the alleged failure to implement youth policy, Jacobs said that a lack of or ineffective use of resources such as city-owned halls created a situation of “idle hands” and minds.
Jacobs added that the city council itself had acknowledged, in its draft youth policy, that 50 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed.
“The focuses in the draft policy [have] not been implemented and we believe if this was prioritised, our city would be less violent and the culture of gangsterism would not be taking over the lives of youth in our city,” he said.
Jacobs then called on youth to be aware that during the lead up to local government elections, grandstanding and empty promises would be commonplace.
“Let us judge all political parties in the City of Cape Town on their performance and their advocacy for youth development,” said Jacobs.
De Lille’s office responded to Jacobs’ allegations, refuting claims youth-oriented policies had not been implemented.
“We have devoted R25 million to 107 initiatives and programmes pertaining to Youth Development,” said De Lille’s spokeswoman Pierrine Leukes.
“That is just for this financial year.”
Leukes said that investment illustrated the City’s understanding of difficulties faced by youth.
“We know that we are doing our part with the resources available to us, but the challenges are complex and require interventions from all stakeholders which includes civil society, the private sector, the different spheres of government,” she said.
“It is an issue which requires of us to work together, and to ask what we can do to help instead of shifting blame.”
– African News Agency (ANA)
Disclaimer: This story is pulled directly from the African News Agency wire, and has not been edited by Mail & Guardian staff.
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