NW sets up task team to fight social ills in Skierlik

Monday, January 19, 2009

Skierlik - A task team has been set up to fight all forms of social ill and increase development in the informal settlement of Skierlik.

North West Premier Edna Molewa set up the team on Sunday during the unveiling of tombstones to commemorate the victims of the shootings which rocked the small community, a year ago last week.

On 14 January 2008, the close-knit community of Skierlik was left reeling in shock when Johan Nel randomly shot into their informal settlement near Swartruggens in the North West, near his family farm.

Nel shot and killed Enoch Tshepo Motshelanoka, 10, Keditlhotse Elizabeth Moiphitlhi who was 3-months-old, her 31-year-old mother Anna and 35-year-old Sivuyile Danani.

The Mafikeng High Court sentenced Nel to four life sentences for murder and he also received another sentence of an additional 68 years for the attempted murders.

Speaking during the commemoration, Premier Molewa said members of the community should unite to fight all forms of social ills.

"What happened here is an indication that our people are still divided and still struggle to accept one another.

"We must teach our children at an early age a sense of unity, to accept others black or white and not let them live their lives in isolation," she said.

The community of Skierlik is one of the remote informal settlements found in Swartruggens.

Most of the community members live in poverty and survive by government grants and the little money they receive from the local farms.

The team, which consists of business people, government officials, trade unions, church leaders and other members of the community, will work together to ensure that their living conditions are improved.

The premier said the team will look at ways of developing Skierlik into a better place and ensure that those who work in local farms have good relations with farm owners.

"We were in Skierlik for the funeral last year and we received a lot of challenges concerning development.

"We have also seen that our people are living in sad conditions, the houses are not in good conditions and do not receive proper services," she said.

Ms Molewa further explained that they had been working with various departments to ensure that services were provided in the community since last year after the massacre.

Some of the work that has been done includes implementing social services in the form of a social worker, with outreach services as well as home visits to the community.

"Counselling was provided to those affected by the trauma of the massacre in the community and for three months we provided food parcels to the needy, with the nine families affected by the massacre benefiting from this intervention while 86 orphans and vulnerable children benefited from a school uniform project during October," she said.