Youth help map the way forward for a crime-free SA

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Over 500 young people from across the country have converged in Pretoria this morning for the first-ever National Youth Crime-prevention Summit.

The summit, which is organised by the South African Police Service, seeks to increase youth participation in the fight against crime.

Police Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi, who opened the summit in Irene along with National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, said the platform will allow young people to robustly engage and share ideas on the best practices for their involvement in the fight against crime.

“The aim of this summit is to consolidate inputs from young people with the view of developing a Youth Crime Prevention Strategy in response to the involvement of young people in criminal activities both as perpetrators and victims.”

Mkongi said the summit will also look at the critical role social media can play in advocating and mobilising young people on a journey to a safer South Africa.

General Sitole said the summit will lay the foundation for developing and implementing the junior community safety fora programmes through consolidation of provincial, district and local municipality safety plans.

Junior station commissioner project

Since 2015, General Sitole said, the police have embarked on a process of consulting with the youth from various formations at provincial, cluster and station level to develop a youth crime prevention framework.

They have introduced the junior station commissioner project which recruits young people, especially learners, to be part of crime fighting initiatives while discouraging youth from participating in various crime trends such as drug abuse and gangsterism.

The project provides an opportunity to invest in young people and it intends to inculcate leadership, mentorship, moral and ethical values in the youth.

It is also aimed at building resistance and resilience among young people to crime and violence affecting them in their communities.

Andisiwe Sango from Motherwell, Port Elizabeth was introduced as one of the new junior station commissioners. She told SAnews she will be involved in crime awareness campaigns and help the police provide better safety and security for her peers in her hometown.

“I will serve as a foot soldier for the police who will be able to talk the language of the youth on the ground. I look forward to talking to and educating my peers about the dangers and consequences of crime.”

Underage drinking, bullying at Eastern Cape schools, drug abuse and child trafficking will be her key focus in the next two years.

Other youth who spoke to SAnews at the event looked forward to concrete initiatives to support already existing plans like educational outreach programmes, school and campus safety, establishing a young parolees organisation and funding for social intervention initiatives.

The summit is expected to conclude on Friday with young people who support crime-prevention initiatives and the Youth Crime Prevention Strategy. –