Intl soccer programme to reduce crime in Durban

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Durban - The Football Development and Crime Awareness Programme is to be launched on Thursday as a diversion tool to reduce crime in the north of Durban.

The programme, which will be rolled out in Intuzuma, KwaMashu and Inanda (INK), aims to encourage the youth to refrain from crime by playing soccer instead.

The programme follows a partnership between the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, the South African Police Services (SAPS), English Premiership Club Charlton Athletic FC, British Airways as well as the United Kingdom Metropolitan Police.

Deputy Head for Sports and Recreation Development at the municipality, Vusi Mazibuko said the idea of the programme came after discussions between SAPS Commission and UK Metro Police about the importance of sport as a tool to for social transformation.

"In the UK they use football as a tool for police to fight crime. We then identified the three areas, which had the highest crime levels, as delivery sites for the football development and crime awareness programme in the city," Mr Mazibuko told BuaNews.

He said that specific high schools and primary schools, with learners aged from eight to 14, have been identified to carry out soccer workshops.

"We've identified schools with high incidence of crime and those which have improved, teachers identified learners who are troublesome and combined them with stable kids to participate in the programme through football.

"Football is being used as a vehicle to establish a relationship between the community, police and the schools in INK areas, we are confident that the project will help turn away children from activities with anti-social behaviour," Mr Mazibuko said.

eThekwini Municipality Metro Police Deputy Head, Titus Malaza said the UK partners will train 48 coaches from INK areas and local partners will assist in the mainstreaming and sustainability of the programme.

Twenty four of the coaches were sourced from the SAPS to interact with children so that they develop trust between them.

"The programme will be evaluated regularly to measure crime statistics and the possible benefits. We are encouraging youth to participate in sports so that they will refrain from crime," he said.

Other agencies also involved in the project include, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, aMazulu FC, INK Area Based Management, Community Policing Forums and local sport structures.

The programme will be launched on Thursday at the K Cap Youth Centre in KwaMashu.

The same project has been launched in Gauteng at Alexandra and Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain in Cape Town.