Plato: ‘Parents must pay attention’

2015-10-27 06:00
Residents, neighbourhood watch members and police officers look on as provincial minister Dan Plato addressed community issues at the Diep River Community Police Forum meeting last week.

Residents, neighbourhood watch members and police officers look on as provincial minister Dan Plato addressed community issues at the Diep River Community Police Forum meeting last week.

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The abuse of alcohol and drugs in the province is a fact that cannot be swept under the carpet.

This is according to provincial minister for community safety Dan Plato.

Plato was the guest speaker at the Diep River Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting last week, where he spoke about the issues of drugs, alcohol and policing needs.

“We have a specific drug issue here in the Western Cape which must be addressed. It was found that Mitchell’s Plain is the drug capital of South Africa while the murder capital is Nyanga. We must find a solution to the scourge of these crimes,” he said.

Plato said his department made it a priority to visit communities where drug and alcohol abuse was high in an effort to monitor, address and find solutions in partnership with the community, police and other crime prevention structures.

“This is a specific problem we face here in South Africa. However, we must also note that drug usage has no race and is a general issue across the country. We may find that people in our affluent communities use more expensive drugs, but that does not mean the drug usage is low; it is an issue across the country,” he said.

Plato said in order to tackle these issues they needed to partner with police, neighbourhood watches, community police forums, religious structures, community-based organisations as well as parents.

“Parents need to pay more attention to their children and what they are doing – who they are spending time with and where. Parents must take responsibility for their children’s actions and advise their children on taking responsibility for themselves too,” he said.

Plato further addressed the importance of neighbourhood watches and the role they played in making their communities safer and more secure.

He encouraged residents – young and old – to join their local neighbourhood watches.

“I know of elderly people who have joined their neighbourhood watches and while any of them cannot physically patrol with the rest of the members they have found various ways of being active citizens through the use of technology,” he said.

Many of the elderly Plato referred to use Whatsapp to communicate what they observed in their communities. They alerted other neighbourhood watch members, neighbours and police of suspicious activity from the comfort of their homes, while watching out of a house window, sitting on their stoep or working in their gardens.

“I want neighbourhood watches to encourage the elderly to join: Show them how to make use of the technology available and make them feel part of the neighbourhood,” Plato said.

He also spoke about the importance of communication between the police and the CPF.

“The CPF has many functions and that is to assist police in their daily activities, getting members to communicate better with the community and liaising with the public. The CPF is also there to organise events to bring people together, be it meetings, upliftment projects or using the funds provided to them by the department of community safety or to run workshops for the community and police,” he said.

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