HRC brings services closer to all

2017-07-06 06:01
Rev Chris Nissen sharing a light moment with some of the attendees.

Rev Chris Nissen sharing a light moment with some of the attendees.

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The Western Cape Human Rights Commission (HRC) celebrated the youth month very differently.

They held an event at the Nyanga Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa, where they gathered different communities and community organisations to talk about issues they’re encountering in their communities.

The HRC’s main purpose was to take its office to the people so that ordinary citizens know what they are doing.

Various Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like Social Justice Coalition, Abemi BaseKapa and Nyanga Forum were among the attendees.

Participants used their time to grill the authorities productively.

Their frustrations ranged from what was happening in poor communities.

Among their serious concerns was the high level of crime, landlessness, poverty, unemployment, abuse of children and women and the lack of electricity in their communities.

Manene Duze, Abemi baseKapa treasurer said he was happy to be part of the event, that it was a good thing for the HRC to come there and listen to their issues.

“We live like sardines. In some houses, music is left blarring until 12 midnight. We’re close to each other, we can’t lead normal lives. We want our land. Mandela made a mistake. For justice to be done people need to be given land and it needs to be corrected from the start.

Land is our right and it was taken by force,” he says.

Duze stressed that he was concerned about the number of people from other countries, because of its impact on the country.

Phillipi resident Nosiphiwo Busuku said she heard a lot of things and it was nice to see some old people and youth at the event.

“We still have problems in our communities.

I think we need to teach our kids not to talk to strangers.

Women, girls and kids are mostly abused in our communities and women need to speak out about the abuse. I feel the youth still needs to be engaged a lot,” she says.

Some resident alluded to the fact that the youth month can’t be meaningful without reflecting on what today’s young people are experiencing.

Thembeka Manata from Nyanga East said it was a good thing that the HRC promised to initiate another dialogue.

“We need all parties to be committed to that dialogue. For instance the Justice Department in Constantia is not the same as the one in Nyanga. We have people from prison who’ve done some training courses while in prison but they didn’t get some certificates from Correctional Services.

These people can’t be employed because they can’t display their qualifications. It’s frustrating for these young people.

We have the issue of police killing people but they’re supposed to protect us. The courts, prosecutors and detectives are failing us. We need to empathise with one another,” she says.

She then urged that the authorities and decision makers need to be involved in the suggested dialogue and the communities need not turn a blind eye but to support each other. She felt that it’s a sad thing that some corps can’t be trusted by the communities.

Martin Makasi, Nyanga Community Policing Forum Chairperson appealed to religious leaders not to accept and be complacent with the culture of lawlessness.

“They’ve accepted to live in the process of crime.

They must not only preach on Sundays but must speak to the general populace. We need to have that engagement at least by July.

Whatever intervention we’d have it must bring down murder in Nyanga.

Today we must have a Nyanga Declaration. We need to commit ourselves, identify all role players and we need to bring down the murder rate in Nyanga,” he says.

People in the audience strongly indicated that the issue of not having lights, CCTV cameras in their communities is a serious problem, it contributes to crime and criminals are easily getting away with murder.

Dan Plato, Provincial Minister of Community Safety said other role players are needed to work with the government and thought that HRC can assist them.

“We continue working with the Community Policing Forum (CPF). I know the South African Police Service (SAPS) are very busy. Police don’t think Nyanga and Cape Flats Police issues are insurmountable.

HRC needs to convene all government agencies. Nyanga works in different direction and it’s a missing link in Nyanga,” he says.

Regarding lights in poor communities, he indicated that they put high mas lights and its shining better also with CCTV cameras they need to enter into that debate.

Commissioner Chris Nissen said it’s the responsibility of the HRC to facilitate and there was a lot of expectation from all the people.

“The level of frustration was high and it can’t be for 11 years people are still knocking and knocking. People are under siege by crime, it’s a socio economic issue. I’m happy that I’ve engaged with them,” he says.

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