It was Mayor Patricia de Lille’s fault that young people became skollies on the Cape Flats.
So says community movement #GangsterismMustFall as the country started commemorating Youth Month yesterday.
“Being a youth in Cape Town is definitely not easy,” said #GangsterismMustFall convenor Roscoe Jacobs.
“We live in the Mother City but our mother has been absent and ignorant in addressing the struggles young people face.
“This, we believe, has resulted in an increase in youth in gangs and the culture of gang violence as fostered by … De Lille.”
Jacobs, who is also a Hout Bay community activist and a member of the African National Congress Youth League, said that De Lille’s alleged failure to prioritise and implement youth development policies has resulted in “the perpetuation of gang culture in Cape Town”.
“We live in a City where we estimate that one person a day is killed as a result of gang violence [and] where it is easier to join a gang than stay in school and/or get a job,” said Jacobs.
“The focuses in the draft policy [have] not been implemented and we believe if this was prioritised, our city would be less violent and the culture of gangsterism would not be taking over the lives of youth in our city,” he said.
De Lille’s office refuted claims that youth-oriented policies had not been implemented, saying R25 million have been devoted to 107 initiatives and programmes.
De Lille’s spokeswoman Pierrine Leukes added: “We know that we are doing our part with the resources available to us, but the challenges are complex and require interventions from all stakeholders which includes civil society, the private sector, the different spheres of government.”
#GangsterismMustFall held a march in February to hold all three spheres of government responsible in the struggle against gangsterism.