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Cape Town - ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa has urged residents of Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain not to take the law into their own hands when dealing with criminals.
“We have people responsible for law and justice,” he said. “Rely on them. Go to the police. Sit on their backs until they help you. If they are not helping, go to the captains. If you still don’t find joy, go to the brigadiers and the generals.”
He was responding to comments by residents at the Swartklip Sports Centre in Tafelsig on Wednesday during a National Development Plan (NDP) dialogue session with the public.
Jasmine Harris, a community worker in Mitchells Plain, asked Ramaphosa and National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel how the NDP would get rid of gangsterism, drug abuse and crime.
She said the police were ineffective.
“Our children are being turned into prostitutes in the Town Centre. Their lives are being destroyed by drug dealers and gangsters. I’m sick and tired and will go to jail if I have to for taking the law into my own hands.”
Ramaphosa warned that taking the law into one’s own hands was dangerous and not developmental.
“That approach is retrogressive. That is not the nature of our democracy... We are proud South Africans and we have a responsibility.”
Residents also asked how the NDP would address corruption, education, housing and moral regeneration.
Ramaphosa said corruption undermined good governance and was “blocking development” in South Africa, and he encouraged residents to “blow the whistle on corruption”.
The NDP would “address” corruption, and it called “on all of us to join the fight against corruption”.
Ramaphosa said the matter of education and technical colleges was “very serious” and required urgent attention.
“Young people need practical skills to be ready for work.”
“Proper leadership” was the most important part of successfully implementing the NDP. “President Jacob Zuma is the one man that is leading this plan… and I’m confident we will be able to implement it under his leadership.”
Manuel promised to return to Mitchells Plain with the province’s deputy police commissioner, General Peter Jacobs, “to talk about those who are waging chemical warfare on our children”.
The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030, among other things.