Community stakeholders hold mass prayer service for Nyanga

Nyanga Community Policing Forum chairperson Martin Makhasi and South African Human Rights Commission commissioner Chris Nissen at the dialogue session in Nyanga.

As the scourge of violence against women and children continues to rise in Nyanga, NGO Kasi Angels, in partnership with churches and the community policing forum (CPF), held a mass prayer service at Zolani centre opposite the taxi rank on Saturday September 28.

All stakeholders agreed that the latest crime statistics released by the police minister paint a worrying picture about the area and shared the same sentiment that they have had enough of crime.

Nyanga CPF chairperson, Martin Makhasi, said the prayer service sought to urge all stakeholders and residents to play an active role in reducing crime in the area.

He said the responsibility to change Nyanga definitely does not only lie on the hands of the government.

The community at large also has a big role to play and should be the ones making a massive effort.

He said people tend to fold their arms and constantly blame the government of being incompetent while they themselves are doing nothing.

He said it is not the government that is living in fear in Nyanga but it is them as residents. Through such events, he said they wanted to reclaim their community and rewrite the history of the area. He hopes that these prayer services could bring hope that one day their community would be known for great things instead of being viewed as the murder capital of the country. “We want to change our community. We are the ones that lose our children, not the government. If we do not stand up for what we believe is right, who will do that for us. We live in Nyanga and we are responsible for it.

“We must act now if we want to create a better future for our children and the next generation. Enough is enough with crime.

“We must assist the police in their work and not work against them. This is not the first prayer session and its not going to be the last one. “We are going to engage residents so that they could start becoming more involved instead of playing the blame game.”

Mr Makhasi urged the community not to harbour criminals and to make it impossible for them to have a space to operate.

Senior pastor at Word of Life ministries, Vuyani Buwe, said the duty of pastors was beyond the pulpit. He said drug and alcohol abuse was one of the key contributing factors of crime in the area while poverty also plays its part.

However, he said churches should be making a more meaningful impact on the community and should not only be open on Sundays. He believes that churches should have uplifting programmes and be rehabilitation centres in the community. He said the fact that boys are born into poor families should not lead them to a life of drugs and crime but should serve as a motivation to change their lives.

His church has a mentoring programme for boys and is planning to soon roll it out in Nyanga.

Through the prayer, he said they were calling for the God’s spirit to intervene and lead them in their efforts of bringing change in their community of Nyanga.