KZN MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, has urged communities in eZakheni, Ladysmith, to form their own community safety structures and be at the forefront of all crime fighting initiatives in order to decrease and eventually rid the area of crime.
Mchunu was addressing the first day of a two-day Crime Summit, in eZakheni, where he also launched the School Safety Committee of eZakheni High School – the first of its kind for a high school in KwaZulu-Natal.
Through the School Safety Committee, it is presumed that incidences of pupils bringing weapons at school; drinking alcohol in school and using drugs in school would decrease and eventually, would be a thing of the past.
The Summit, seeks to, among others, mobilise and place the communities of eZakheni at the vanguard in the fight against crime. Delegates included: the SAPS, Provincial Youth Desk, KZN Community Crime Prevention Association, CPF and various government departments.
The Summit provides a platform for robust dialogue in the form of commissions and report back presentations. It will also develop and adopt resolutions that will be considered for implementation.
Opening the Summit, Mchunu told delegates that any crime prevention strategy that is developed and implemented should involve the communities.
“The police and government will never defeat crime alone. If you, as communities do not act against crime, the scourge will continue to overwhelm your communities. Government is doing everything it can, through policies and programmes to fight and defeat crime – but we need communities to be at the forefront of all crime fighting initiatives,” said Mchunu.
He urged eZakheni communities to form their own safety structures that would work with the police and receive support from the government. Mchunu also called on community members to report crime, including corrupt police officers.
“We want corrupt officers out of the SAPS. However, the majority of officers in the SAPS are dedicated and honest. We will only defeat crime once all communities are vigilant and resilient against crime. I leave you with this question ‘will you rise up against crime or sit down and do nothing?’”
A crime overview presentation by the SAPS showed that murder, attempted murder, hijackings, house robberies, business robberies were among the priority crimes in the district.