Religious leaders and representatives of various faith-based organisations have vowed to root out the scourge of crime plaguing some of the townships.
On Saturday May 5, they met with Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, at the Philippi East community hall, to discuss and propose regional strategy measures to prevent violence and other social ills.The meeting was initiated by Greater Phillipi Organisation Church.
Chairperson, Bishop Alfred Dywili, said there had been a significant increase in violence around the metro, largely committed by youth. “As the religious leaders we felt we should stand up and do something,” he said. “We felt the need to speak to Mr Plato to give us a chance to try to help in the fight against crime. We feel, as churches, we can be able to change people’s minds. We can do a better job if we are united.”
Mr Dywili said they called Mr Plato to see where they could assist. He said they hoped to persuade Mr Plato as well as young people. He called on other religious leaders to be part of a fight against crime.
Mr Dywili said it was time for churches to rise up against crime.
The plan has been warmly welcomed by Mr Plato.
He questioned the killing of people during service delivery protests. He called for a better way of dealing with such issues. He said he understood challenges such as sanitation and electricity, but said those were as a result of illegal occupation of private land. “They cannot get services because they are illegally occupying a private land. “We need to sit down and discuss how can we go around those issues. We must structure ourselves in a meaningful way to deal with these issues,” he said.
Mr Plato introduced the department’s Youth Safety Funding Project YSFP). The initiative helps to keep young people busy during school holidays.
He called on churches to apply for it and spell out their programmes. “We want people who will change the lives of young people for the better,” he said. “My department is prepared to work with religious leaders. In fact, there are churches that have been working with us. We fund their holiday programme.”
However, he said for any church to qualify is should have an NPO certificate, three months bank statement, and a constitution.