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Western Cape premier Helen Zille launched a violence prevention policy framework for the province on Monday.
“The policy brings together a range of proposals focused on reducing and preventing violence in the Western Cape, which are all in line with our government’s 'whole-of-society' approach,” Zille said in a statement.
The provincial government recognised that the criminal justice system had a critical role to play when it came to reducing violence in communities and it was crucial that wrong-doers were brought to book.
“Only the South African Police Service, the public prosecutor, the courts and correctional services, working together in a seamless pipeline, have the power to ensure this happens.”
She encouraged residents to be active in the fight against violence and said their involvement was what underpinned the violence prevention policy.
“Effective partnerships and combined efforts between all three spheres of government, civil society and communities are the only way we will address the underlying factors that give rise to acts of violence in our society,” Zille said.
The policy had been developed in response to a long-standing need for a coherent and integrated framework for understanding and effectively tackling the very high injury and mortality rates resulting from violence.
“The effect of this violence is enormous. It creates trauma for families (and particularly children) and weakens communities where the social fabric is often already severely strained,” she said.
Alcohol was an underlying contributor to the violence. Part of the plan to curb the problem was to reduce the availability of alcohol and alcohol abuse.
“Critical to the success of this intervention is the closing down of illegal shebeens in communities.”
Zille said while the provincial government was committed to creating safe communities and had introduced a range of socio-economic interventions to reduce violent behaviour, it could not achieve this alone.
“The successful implementation of the policy would require the co-operation of all role-players in the health and criminal justice sectors, as well as the active participation and partnership of citizens and civil society,” she said. - Sapa