File picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, said he was soon going to propose a law that would incriminate South African parents who compromised the future of their children by not pushing them to go to school.

“One of these days I am going to propose that we should have a law that parents who do not insist that their children must be in school will be committing a crime. I am going to propose such a law because it is our responsibility as parents, particularly in a country where there is free education,” he said.

Ramaphosa addressed hundreds of police officers and community members during an official launch of the South African Police Service's anti-gang unit (AGU) in Hanover Park, Cape Town.

The president and Police Minister Bheki Cele formally launched the AGU in an effort to disorganise and disable the criminal economy linked to gangsterism, including drug and firearm supply lines in Hanover Park and other surrounding areas which have been reportedly affected by gang activities.

The unit has been in operation since October, deployed in the Nyanga, Bonteheuwel and Bishop Lavis clusters in the Western Cape. However, the Anti-Gang Unit is a national competency which will also be rolled out to Gauteng and the Eastern Cape Province and wherever the need exists.

“Here I want to call upon parents to make sure that their children stay in school. Parents must insist that their children must go to school. If your child stops going to school, you must inquire, you must ask that child why they don’t go to school,” Ramaphosa said, adding urging parents not to compromise on the future of their children. He stated that education was a weapon that could be used to end poverty and gangsterism.

“Because education, as [late former president Nelson Mandela, known as] Madiba said, is the only weapon that we have to get out of poverty, and education is also the only weapon we have to get out of gangsterism. We must insist and push our children to go to school, without any compromise. Every parent is committing a crime if you are not going to insist that your child must be in school. It is you as a parent who is committing a crime against that child and the future of that child," he said.

“This is one of the strategies that we can use against gangsterism. We as the government will continue to take steps to make sure that we address the issue of poverty. We will continue to address the issue of unemployment, we will continue to want to work with you to reduce criminality.”

He called on the communities to work hand in hand with the police in the implementation of the anti-gangsterism strategy.

“Even the gangster in your own home, make it a point that our police members know what’s happening because we want to help you. We can only be effective in fight crime and gangsterism only if you members of the community work with us.” 

- African News Agency (ANA)