On Thursday, 29 October the youth of the Overstrand, accompanied by their “Partners in Crime”, marched to the Gansbaai Sports Ground for an official ceremony to mark their commitment to the fight against the growing level of crime in the area.
Not even the threat of bad weather could dampen the spirit of those involved. The procession, led by a police band, included the Executive Mayor of Overstrand Municipality, Nicolette Botha-Guthrie, her fellow councillors, the area manager, municipal officials, members of the various Western Cape Government Departments, as well as representatives of partners such as Chrysalis Academy, Grootbos Foundation, Overberg Wheelchair association, Overberg Sports and Recreation and Afriforum.
The ‘Youth Against Crime Imbizo’ was established by the Overstrand Municipality, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Overstrand Youth Development Forum (OYDF) in October last year as a means of providing constructive after school programmes that the youth could partake in. This was borne from the realisation that a great number of learners in the region were being left to their own devices after school, with very little adult supervision, and were therefore inevitably susceptible to all sorts of negative influences.
Part of the programme involves developing the sport and social skills of the youth through activities like soccer, karate, kickboxing, netball and table tennis to name a few. Participants are further allowed to identify an activity that they can engage in on a regular basis even after the Imbizo.
The imbizo is an excellent platform for forming partnerships between government, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders with the express purpose of establishing practical solutions to tackle those issues that contribute to crime. It also allows for an active voice in discussing, planning and organising structures geared at curbing crime amongst young people.
In her keynote address, the Mayor emphasised this point by saying, “We must employ a multi-faceted approach in our fight against the unacceptable levels of crime that is plaguing our region and seek the active participation of every sector of society, especially the youth who are the future of this province and country.”
Botha-Guthrie further stated, “When formulating crime prevention policies the youth are a strategic asset as they possess the energy and influence amongst their peers that could constitute positive change. With the proper guidance our young people could be real “game-changers” in our battle against crime and all forms of social ills.”
The Mayor urged the various role-players concerned to work collectively towards rebuilding the Overstrand into an area where the youth and future generations could be assured of a safe and secure environment, one where they could thrive in and develop to their fullest potential.