Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister, Inkosi Phathekile Holomisa believes communities should intensify crime prevention forums to curb Gender-Based Violence, rape, drug abuse, and stock theft in rural areas.
Inkosi Holomisa was speaking at the launch of the community-driven Masifunisane initiative in Mqanduli, Eastern Cape, on Monday.
Traditional leaders, police and church leaders have come together to forge a partnership to combat criminal activities in rural areas. Stock theft and other violent crimes are rife in the remote areas of the province.
The formation of the Masifunisane crime prevention forum has reduced the crime rate and villagers want this initiative to spread to other small towns in the Eastern Cape.
Masifunisane Crime Prevention Forum Deputy president, Phumzile Sidayi says, “Crucial thing we are fighting is crime. Crime like rape, stock theft and also we are fighting crimes like rape and also we are fighting the use of drugs. Other things are happening among us in our areas. So every crime, we report to the police.”
Chief Phathekile Holomisa believes combating crime is the responsibility of both communities and police.
“This particular organisation is loyal to the institution of traditional leadership, indigenous law and institution of traditional leadership are recognized by the constitution so whatever they do therefor they do it in a manner that respects the laws of the country both indigenous law as practiced by the traditional leadership and also the laws of the democratic state.”
Zama Siziba and Nosive Matiwane Mbulawa say crime has decreased in the area since the formation of the neighbourhood watch forum.
“Crime is escalating day by day but since the inception of Masifunisane in this ward, it decreased a lot. We have got a breakthrough of crimes which were not dealt with by the police but Masifunisane has got a breakthrough so I stand here in front of you being bold and happy of that Masifunisane.”
“Police do not take us seriously when we report crimes that is why some of us decided to join Masifunisane because Masifuinisane is helping us to find our things and it is also protecting us, that is why the crime here in the village is decreasing, not because of the police but because of Masifunisane.”
Chief Holomisa says the community crime prevention initiative plays a role in reducing the number of young people in the country’s prisons.
“Resources of the state are overstretched, the police cannot be found in every corner of the country. It is the responsibility of every household to look after its own assets, most of the young people who are in our centres have committed crimes that could have easily been prevented if these communities were still as organized as they were before,” Holomisa explains.
Young people have been encouraged to join community forums to combat crime in rural areas.