The affordable education loan option
Cape Town - Sending the army into Manenberg won’t bring an end to gang violence, says Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele, who visited the area on Monday.
Ramphele said the solution lay in resolving socio-economic problems.
Ramphele was in Manenberg on Monday to meet the police station commander and community leaders on a “fact-finding mission”.
She also went to Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha, noting that residents had not realised the “promise of freedom”.
The root cause of this, she said, was a corrupt government which had forgotten its people for 20 years. “What is needed in this country is a clean, competent government. A government that listens to its people and cares.”
Agang policy director and interim provincial leader Mills Soko said the situation in Manenberg was a product of abuse by political parties who discarded people after getting their votes. “It is completely unacceptable, what we saw.”
Ramphele was briefed in a closed meeting about the gang situation in Manenberg, the challenges the police station faced and its plan to tackle crime. After the meeting, she drove through Manenberg streets in a motorcade accompanied by the police and former provincial Community Policing Forum chairman Hanif Loonat.
Ramphele witnessed rows of people sitting on the side of the road, seemingly unemployed, and was told of dilapidated school infrastructure. She also saw people in wheelchairs. Loonat said 80 percent of them were victims of gang violence.
Asked about Premier Helen Zille’s call for the army to be deployed to fight gangsterism, Ramphele said: “I’ve never believed in the army solving social problems. These are social problems of inequality, of trauma, of humiliation. They need to be addressed at source.”
She said there was a need for an integrated approach to gang violence, including social development, health and education. “If people don’t have jobs, it doesn’t matter how closely you police. The problems will remain.” She said it was a concern that many people lived in the “middle of filth” and were unemployed. She said those people could be employed to clean up, and to refurbish their housing.
“We need South Africans to know that it is unacceptable to have such degrees of inequality, because this level of inequality breeds its own dynamic of social problems… Camps Bay is not safe when this is happening here, Bishopscourt is not safe. So, we have a responsibility as citizens to deal with these root causes and close the gap.”
This could be done through putting pressure on the government. Ramphele, who lived in Gugulethu in the late 1980s, said she had not been aware of the depth of the problems in Manenberg until Monday.