Mixed views on social media after plan for bulletproof park in Mitchell’s Plain is unveiled

An artist’s impression of the proposed bulletproof park for Mitchells Plain. l SUPPLIED

An artist’s impression of the proposed bulletproof park for Mitchells Plain. l SUPPLIED

Published Apr 15, 2024


Social media users have expressed outrage at the prospect of a bulletproof park for children being built in Mitchell’ Plain Cape Town.

This comes after Gun Free SA (GFSA), a leading NGO dedicated to reducing gun violence in South Africa, put forward a proposal to develop the world's first “Bulletproof Park” in Mitchells Plain, a community heavily impacted by gang violence.

According to Gun Free SA, this innovative proposal aims to provide a safe and secure play area for children amid the ongoing threat of gunfire.

“The Bulletproof Park project comes as a response to the alarming statistics of firearm-related deaths in South Africa.

“In 2022-23 alone, over 11 300 people were killed with a firearm in a 12-month period, with almost 10% of those deaths being gang-related, and many victims being young children shot by stray bullets,” said GFSA.

The NGO said the envisioned park would be entirely enveloped in bulletproof glass, delivering the delights of a typical playground with slides and monkey bars while ensuring the safety of children from stray bullets.

GFSA said that the park would integrate cutting-edge security features such as secure entrances and panic buttons, providing parents and guardians with added assurance that comprehensive measures had been implemented to safeguard the play space from the nation's firearm crisis.

The NGO also revealed that it has even researched the development of bulletproof vests tailored for young children, further demonstrating its commitment to protecting young lives.

Monique Hansen, GFSA programme manager, said the Bulletproof Park would stop bullets killing children in a Mitchells Plain playground, but for real solutions that protect all children in SA, guns would have to be silenced.

Lynn Phillips, Mitchells Plain resident and secretary of the Cape Flats Safety Forum, said gang violence was rife on the Cape Flats, and children were exposed to its brutality from a very young age.

"Innocent children are often victims of crossfire on playgrounds. Every time a child is shot in the crossfire there are prayers, protests, and promises. What we need is action,“ said Phillips.

However, social media users weren’t too convinced about the solution of creating the world’s first bulletproof park in the Western Cape and South Africa.

X users shared their views on the proposal.

@fcfortune said: “Instead of fighting crime, they’re accommodating it.”

@iam_siyafierce said: “One thing about South Africa, we will just put a plaster and call things ‘fixed’.”

@dwaine_van wrote: “This is the kind of dystopian future we can expect when policing has all but collapsed. Since policing is a national govt function there is nothing WC can do about it expect barricade themselves.”

— 🆂🆃🅰🆃🆂 & 🅵🅰🅲🆃🆂 (@dwaine_van) April 12, 2024

@JoshuaDladla said: “How do the children get there? Is there a tunnel that lead them straight into the bullet proof park or they can get shot on their way there.”