I have always believed that politicians must have personal experience of the portfolios they manage.
For example, a transport minister should be made to use public transport, like trains and taxis regularly.
The status quo will only change if the person in charge is experiencing the frustration of commuters on a daily basis.
In the same vein, if we want our education challenges to be adequately addressed, then the education minister should have children attending public school.
If the people in charge of these portfolios do not have current first-hand experience of what it is they are dealing with, then it’s all just academic to them.
So I was very encouraged when Premier Alan Winde appointed Reagan Allen as the new MEC of Community Safety and Police Oversight.
At the age of 37, Reagan is, relatively speaking, a youngster, who is only two years older than our new mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
Youth is something we are sorely lacking in our political landscape and I’m hoping the young blood is going to shake things up a little.
Reagan brings even more important benefits to the table – he is relatively new to politics; he grew up in Mitchells Plain; he has a history as a social warrior and most importantly, he has experienced the effects of gangsterism on young lives, including his own.
These are going to come in very handy if he’s going to be effective in tackling gangsterism.
Reagan previously told the Daily Voice: “I have always been concerned about the crime in Cape Town and especially the Cape Flats.
“I have lived it first hand and I know how easily vulnerable children get into gangs.”
This is a statement that resonates strongly with me, considering how I started this piece.
First-hand experience will provide some insights into understanding and possible solutions that may have been absent previously.
He also acknowledged that our province is overrun by gangs and says that he wants to start reversing that by addressing the lack of intelligence when it comes to gangsters. And this is where you and I come in.
If we want this young man to succeed, while at the same time making a serious dent in the criminal operations that torment our daily lives, then we need to help him out.
Lack of intelligence means not enough of us are piemping the gangsters by giving the cops valuable information about drug stashes, gun shipments, mule routes, shooter hideouts or revenge shooting plans that inevitably kill innocent people.
Reagan may have great plans, but he won’t be able to do it without the active cooperation of people in the communities that suffer the most.
I trust that we finally have someone whose heart is in the right place and whose experience matches his intent.
He is one of us and it is our duty to help him, so that he can help us.
Because if we don’t, then he will fail.
And if that happens, then we will repeat the cycle of violence.
And of course we will point the fingers of blame away from ourselves, and Reagan will become just another example of how not even one of our own could fix the problems that plague the Cape Flats.