Cape Town - Hanover Park youth and community leaders have slammed their local ward councillor for allegedly failing to work with them in initiating projects that will counter the ill-effects of drugs and violence.
Hanover Park CPF youth co-ordinator Yaseen Johar said for a long time youth groups and organisations that work with the youth had tried to engage Johan van Rheede to gain his support but nothing had come of it.
Johar said: “When you look at communities on the Cape Flats you can immediately see the difference compared with communities in white areas. Even our education systems are incomparable.
“We have asked for more to be done and for funds to be invested into our youth to fix the broken school system, uplift and empower our children so they too can have better chances at making it in life.
“At the moment all we are known for is the violence we’re forced to live with. The worst thing is when our youth try to uplift each other and do better we are hit with unnecessary stumbling blocks.
“For the longest time, we have been begging our councillor to work with us. At the moment it’s a struggle to simply host a programme at the community hall, even when you apply.”
“It’s Youth Month yet as the youth we have to resort to hosting our commemorative programmes outdoors after we were blocked from using the community facilities.
“The government needs to do better, the youth are the future but not if their growth is stunted for selfish reasons,” he said.
Non-profit Organisation Engineering Better Localities founder Denise Albertus said that while her organisation was designed to support and assist vulnerable residents from young people to the elderly, the struggle to work within the community and gaining access to its facilities had frustrated the process to do more for residents in need.
“It’s a shame that we can’t easily make use of the facilities within the community to serve the residents. It’s not because we don’t want to be as close but that there are just too many hurdles to climb over.”
In response to the claims, Van Rheede said that the allegations regarding him not wanting to work with the youth were false and ridiculous.
He said that it was unfortunate that some of the youth were being misled by adults.
“I have an open-door policy and have worked to initiate numerous projects within the community to benefit the youth. For me, uplifting the youth is something I am passionate about.
“It’s sad that young people want to focus on bad instances at such tender ages. I have tried to tell them that they should leave politics to the adults,” said Van Rheede.