Residents encouraged to speak out

2017-12-12 06:00
Provincial minister Dan Plato in Hanover Park on Wednesday.

Provincial minister Dan Plato in Hanover Park on Wednesday.

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Dan Plato, provincial community safety minister, visited Hanover Park on Wednesday to carry out his department’s 16 Days of Activism campaign.

Plato encouraged those who were suffering from abuse and those who knew of abuse taking place to break the silence around violence and abuse.

He spoke under the theme “Speak out – Be the voice of courage”.

Plato was joined by officers of local police stations, the South African Human Rights Commission, community policing forums (CPFs), neighbourhood watches (NHWs), NGOs, City of Cape Town councillors, other government departments, religious leaders and community members for this year’s annual 16 Days of Activism awareness campaign from 25 November to this past Sunday.

In his address, Plato said factors such as abuse, neglect and violence had led the youth astray.

“Our youth are being abused, not only physically but sociologically as well, to the point where they become gun-wielding ­killers.

“Our kids not being able to play outside out of fear of stray bullets and exposure to violence is psychological abuse we cannot allow.

“Women, young women and even girls being raped, killed and their bodies dumped cannot become the new normal we, as a community, are supposed to get used to,” said Plato.

He called for unity and asked the community to be conscious of their safety and not just only be active during the 16 Days of Activism campaign.

“The Western Cape government believes that safety is everyone’s responsibility, that safety starts in your home and within your own family. We have asked in the past that communities partner with us and partner with the police to stop the violence against women and children,” he said.

He advised residents to report incidents and ask authorities for help while also becoming more involved in their community by getting to know community organisations and structures.

“This year, I want to challenge everyone in this community to help break the silence that surrounds abuse and violence in our communities. We need to break the hold that evil still has in our homes, running our streets and owning our communities.

“We have to break the silence.”

He pointed out that the Domestic Violence Act outlined what was regarded as unacceptable behaviour.

“We also need to be honest about the violence in our communities. We need to speak out about who and what is the cause for violence in our homes and in our ­communities.

“Two-thirds of all family violence in communities can be attributed to the abuse of alcohol. Seventy percent of crimes in communities can be attributed to addiction to substances, drugs and alcohol.

“We cannot be silent anymore about those in our communities who are drinking themselves to death. Those in our homes, or in our neighbours’ homes, who drinks and then hits out at his wife, beats his children, threatens his friends, pulls a knife or even a gun – speak out,” he said.

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