As part of the Social Development Month activities, the Department of Social Development will on Tuesday conduct dialogues with parents and children in Ventersburg, Welkom, to highlight the risks associated with gangsterism.
Social Development Month was launched by Minister Lindiwe Zulu on 1 October, under the theme, “Delivering DSD Services during COVID-19 in the Year of Charlotte Maxeke”.
Gangsterism has been identified as one of the social drivers of crime incidents in the country.
The department said gangsterism among children between the ages of 14 and 17 years has been identified as one of the growing challenges in the area of Lejweleputswa District in Free State.
Through its profiling of children in Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) in the area, the department identified that most children are part of gangs or live in communities with a high prevalence of gangsterism.
“To address this problem of gangsterism, which leads to violent behaviour among both children and parents, the Department of Social Development developed the Anti-Gangsterism Strategy to assist children, youth and families to realise the dangers associated with child gangsterism.
“The implementation of the Anti-Gangsterism Strategy calls for special attention to address gangsterism through dialogue with family members, including children in CYCCs) and those who live in families and communities,” the department said in a statement.
The department said gangsterism promotes a culture of violent behaviour emanating from organised criminal activities, and substance abuse is one of the most socially coordinated mechanisms which renders communities dysfunctional.
“It is for this reason that the Children’s Act makes provision for the protection of children who are at risk of becoming gangsters and be in conflict with the law,” the department said.
Social Development has a responsibility to provide appropriate alternative care to children when removed from the family environment, which includes protecting them from gangsterism threats and other risk factors. – SAnews.gov.za