Children encouraged to stay safe

Programme manager at Isibane Development Initiative, Mzulungile Cabanga, talks about the dangers of drugs and crime, during an event held in Site C last Friday.

With the schools closed for the holidays and many parents at work during the day, children are left without supervision and can be easily lured into criminal activities.

To make children aware of the dangers of drug abuse and crime, Khayelitsha police station and Isibane Development Initiative, held an event in Site C on Friday December 15.

Policeofficers,formerdrug addicts, ex-criminals and community leaders urged the children to stay in school and obey their parents.

Children were able to take part in various sports at the event.

This was part of encouraging them to spend their time doing positive activities that also keep them occupied.

The core message delivered on the day was that a child in sport is a child out of court.

Constable Singiseka Ntshayi said they wanted to engage children about crime and drugs so that they could stop them becoming criminals and ruining their future.

She said crime increased during the festive season and many children found themselves caught up in illegal activities .

Constable Ntshayi said even though it was a one-day event, the message delivered was crucial. She said young people needed to be continuously guided so that they did not misbehave.

She said crime and drugs robbed young people of a chance in life.

She urged parents and community leaders to introduce programmes during this festive season to keep young people occupied and away from taverns.

She said many of the crimes committed by young people were related to the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

She said they wanted to use sport to put children on the right path and equip them with life skills.

“An idle mind is a devil’s playground. We need to be proactive and empower children with critical information.Weneedto talk openly about drugs and crime. We have a role to mould young people into becoming future leaders,” she said.

Programme manager at Isibane Development Initiative, Mzulungile Cabanga, said the organisation’s aim was to educate young people about the dangers of drugs.

He said the organisation was formed by former drug addicts and criminals who wanted to share their stories and stop making the same mistakes they had.

He said they held mini street soccer tournaments in an effort to fight crime.

Mr Cabanga, 30, who is also a former drug addict, said he abused drugs from 2004 until 2014.

He decided to stop and seek a new lease on life.

He said lack of role models and having nothing to do after school were some of the things that had lured him into doing drugs.

He said they wanted their peers to make well informed life choices.

Since starting the organisation they have been working with SAPS to raise awareness about the dangers of crime and drugs.

“I used to smoke mandrax and dagga. My parents tried to warn me about drugs, but I never listened to them.

“I stopped smoking when my parents told me that they were waiting for the day to bury me as they had had enough of my behaviour,” he said.

Parent Noliyima Mehlo praised the initiative and said it helped to keep children busy.

She said crime was rife in their community and perpetrators were young people. She called on the police to keep hosting such events and pleaded with the community to assist the SAPS.