Communities must take back the streets - Masina

2015-05-31 19:30
Mzwandile Masina. (GCIS)

Mzwandile Masina. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - Community residents need to take back ownership of their neighbourhoods through street committees which will help them help one another, ANC Ekurhuleni chairperson Mzwandile Masinan said on Saturday.

"We want communities to take full ownership of the development of street committees in their streets because it is about the welfare of those communities," he said.

"If there is a child who is sick [we want them] to be taken to hospital. If there is a family that has got family feuds, we want social workers to move in as quick as possible, if there is a granny who has not earned her pension we want to be able to resolve those issues including infrastructure delivery issues that we should be accounting for as a community."

Masina and the ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete were in Germiston on Sunday for the launch of the party's street committee programme.

These committees would create a culture of active citizenry at street level.

"It's not just about looking at crime, we look into issues of education, the welfare of our citizens, how we respond to the poverty that continues to affect us, so that there is no house that has got children that go to sleep without [having eaten]," Masina said.

Reiger Park community leader Hein April, who attended the launch, said such committees would help residents cultivate a culture of Ubuntu which would help deter crimes such as the kidnapping and killing of young children in the area.

Murders

In August last year, the body of three-year-old Cuburne van Wyk was found at a mine dump in Ramaphosa settlement, near Reiger Park after being missing for three days. He was burnt from the chest down, and believed to have been strangled and burnt to death.

Nathaniel Katlego Mpoku, 25, was found guilty of his murder this month.

In November, Siphamandla Madikane's half-naked body was found in a field also in Ramaphosa. The 10-year-old was found dead with socks stuffed in his mouth and a used condom next to his body.

In July, four-year-old Taegrin Morris from Delmore Gardens was killed when his parents' Volkswagen Golf was hijacked in Reiger Park.

The boy was caught in his seat belt and was dragged along the road as the hijackers drove off. The car was later abandoned.

Earlier in November, the Boksburg Magistrate's Court withdrew all charges against Thamsanqa Twala, who had been accused of involvement in the death of the child.

"Reiger Park is one of the communities that have gone through a lot of stuff... All of these things that have happened to us in the community could have been avoided because in a street committee you find that everybody is concerned about who is in my street and what are they doing in my street," April said.

He said issues in the community could only be addressed if residents understood the responsibility they had as community members towards one another.

Zandile Njiva, a 19-year-old from Daveyton said she was considering becoming part of the committee in her own neighbourhood.

"Some of the members of Ward 68 wanted me to be part of the street committee because I don't [work] I just matriculated last year so they wanted me to be part of the street committee."

When Masina was asked whether such committees would help curb the high number of service delivery protests taking place country-wide, he said most protests were usually hijacked or fuelled by lies or rumours.

The committees would assist the ANC and government in directing matters through the necessary channels and averting the protests.

"Community protests start genuinely but they get hijacked by other forces, so if there are concrete street committees, they will be able to know how to direct the struggles of the people, if it is genuine," Masina said.

"If there is a rumour that there is a street that has been built and the street is not there, they will be able to tell us as a party that there is no street there because what starts service delivery protests is lies, more often than not, especially from some of the government officials."

Read more on:    baleka mbete  |  mzwandile masina  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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