Shock as City drops Ceasefire project to reduce gun violence
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The City has discontinued the Hanover Park Ceasefire Project after five years of collecting data and seeing positive results stem from the initiative in the community.
The Ceasefire Project - a programme designed to work directly with high-risk individuals in an attempt to reduce gun violence on the Cape Flats - was notified that the City would be withdrawing the project over “political issues”.
Project chairperson Craven Engel said they were devastated when they received the news. “We got the notice to say the City was withdrawing the project from Hanover Park due to political issues.
“This was a big blow to us. We were really blind-sided because we have been running the project for five years through the help of the City,” Engel said.
Despite the project no longer receiving assistance and resources from the City, Engel said they would continue with interventions in the community.
“There has been years of building trust and relationships with men in the community who have veered from a gang lifestyle to join the project. We can’t remove them from the programme, and having this communicated to us has really crippled us.
“These men have worked tirelessly as violence interrupters and the results could be seen. Currently we only have two gangs fighting in the area, compared to before the project was introduced,” Engel said.
He said the groundwork for conflict mediation sometimes took interrupters outside the borders of Hanover Park.
“We have been working with youth at risk and high-risk individuals who have undergone such positive changes, including changed behaviours, and ripping this project from the area will not necessarily have them relapse, but these men are now lying dormant.
“Our people have a right to safety, and taking out these resources is a violation of that right.”
City executive director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman said the Ceasefire contract came to an end on September 30 last year.
“The continuation of the Ceasefire programme in Hanover Park is not currently budgeted for by the City of Cape Town.
"There were many lessons and best practices learnt through the implementation of this programme which are being evaluated with a view to possible future implementation.”
Bosman said the programme was funded by the City via the Mayoral Urban Regeneration Programme and cost just over R5 million.
“Funding was available for the implementation of the Ceasefire programme for the contract which expired. Bosman said ShotSpotter has been implemented and is currently operational within Manenberg and Hanover Park.
“It should be noted that ShotSpotter is a technology and Ceasefire is a programme, and they have proven to be effective when implemented simultaneously with normal, focused law enforcement and policing activities,” he said.