The Trauma Advocacy Group of the University of Cape Town is distraught about violence plaguing the citizens in the Cape Town Metropolitan area and the acute exacerbation in the Cape Flats. There were 43 murders on the Cape Flats over the weekend of the 12th - 14th July 2019, being an intensification of an ongoing crisis.
Violence is preventable, not inevitable, and an immediate evidence-based approach to combat this violence is required. Urgent action is the solution and this should be seen in the light of 'quick wins'; to ensure traction, while longer-term, sustained interventions are delivered.
1. Adoption by the Minister of Safety and Security of the recommendations put forward by the Khayelitsha Commission of Enquiry into Policing and extended to all hotspot areas
2. Search-and-seizure of firearms and dangerous weapons with the confiscated weapons destroyed
3. Closure of 'drug houses' known to the community
4. Enforcement of laws for the distribution and sale of alcohol (particularly after hours)
5. Correct staffing numbers for police stations in hotspot areas with adequate staffing over weekends
6. Visible police patrols
7. A community policing commitment to the procedural justice model of policing
8. Monthly published crime statistics for all police stations that includes monitoring those murders related to gang conflict
9. Monitoring and oversight team including community leaders, NGOs and development workers, and academics to review the effects of the interventions at a community and metro level
10. Increased attention to the import and export of illicit goods, including Cape Town harbour
11. Improved support to statutory child protection and family support services
Longer term interventions
1. Gun ownership control
2. Global best practice for the control of access to alcohol
3. Intelligence driven dismantling of criminal syndicates
4. Multi-sectoral youth initiatives
5. Job creation and access to the economy
6. CCTV camera installation
7. Urban upgrading and accessible housing closely integrated within economic centres
8. Review drug policy to emphasise drugs as a mental health rather than a criminal justice issue with comprehensive drug rehabilitation and prevention programmes
9. Efficient and fair criminal justice that includes diversion options with enhanced rehabilitative support for prisoners and ex-convicts
10. Broad scale funding of community social workers and community health care workers to extend the Community Oriented Primary Care model
11. Facilitate development of community based and government supported "think tanks" to catalyse the enactment of long-term "master plans" for sustained social change
The current military intervention should be a short-term measure to stabilise the area ahead of these interventions being implemented.
This call to action incorporates goal 16, (Peace, Justice and strong institutions) of the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/1 to; "significantly reduce all forms of violence and work with governments and communities to find lasting solutions to conflict and insecurity."
As a group of concerned academics, we are willing to engage in collective efforts to curb and prevent violence, through systematic analysis of information from different sources, developing a theory of change, and monitoring interventions such as those listed above, that are most likely to make a difference.
* TAG is a group of University of Cape Town academics, in the Faculty of Health Sciences, who are committed to decreasing violence and trauma using an evidence-based approach to interventions.