Durban - The state, NGOs and communities will come together to become a crime-fighting and prevention force with the formation of community safety forums in each of the 110 wards of eThekwini Municipality.
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli said yesterday the launch of these forums and drug action committees was long overdue and they would “hit the ground running”.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said the plan was to enable wards to develop their own crime prevention strategies that suited fighting the type of crimes typical of their areas.
“In each and every voting district, crime varies. In one section it’s livestock theft, in another it’s drugs issues and in others it’s rape. So it requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to defeat the scourge of crime,” said Kaunda.
“We shall be sourcing the knowledge of the police in training (the participants),” he said, adding that community policing forums already had vast knowledge of what was needed and would complement other community structures in the “cohort”.
He stressed the need for developing facilities such as libraries and community centres, including equipping some with wi-fi, as part of the fight against social ills, especially drug addiction.
“Fighting crime is not just about the police chasing criminals; it’s about addressing socio-economic issues. We need the Department of Sport to come on board. We need to have sports fields that will be developed and maintained so that our youth can be driven away from drugs.
“Community halls should be utilised – not only when people are burying their family members, but also to create more arts and culture activities,” said Kaunda.
“The sole purpose of having this structure is to ensure, first, that each and every ward develops its own crime prevention strategy and a plan.”
Kaunda also stressed the importance of environmental issues around crime to assist police.
“All the bushes around the city should be cleared, (and) in townships and rural areas, so people can walk freely when they go to their workplaces … so it is important to consider that environmental design is considered one of the injections in fighting against crime.”
The Independent on Saturday