6 May 2017
Hordes gather for national safety conference
More than 1 000 people today attended the safety conference of AfriForum and the Solidarity Movement at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria. The purpose of this safety conference was to discuss national security mechanisms between communities, the state and the private sector in order to combat crime, with the theme Let’s make our streets safe.
Yusuf Abramjee, social and anti-crime activist, said in his address at the conference that it is time to meet, unite and organise a mass march against crime. “It's time to wake up the government and break our silence. Do not be afraid. We as South Africans are tired of blood, corpses and bullets,” said Abramjee.
Mosiuoa Lekota, former Defence Minister and leader of COPE, said that South Africa did not have the necessary leadership and control, and that crime had an impact on everyone in the country: “We have a president who does not respect the constitution. The examples he [Pres. Jacob Zuma] sets, are poor.” Lekota also emphasised that South Africa belongs to all, irrespective of race, and that cooperation is needed to make a difference.
Solly Msimanga, Mayor of Tshwane, said that safety was a concern and a top priority for the metro. He also referred to investors and said that for South Africa’s economy to grow, the country needs to be safe for citizens as well as for investors.
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, compared criminals and politicians who encourage violence, to bullying. “Criminals and politicians who promote violence, target vulnerable people – the same as bullies always do. Therefore, the best defence against perpetrators of violence is that communities must be able to protect themselves within the framework of the law. Collaboration between all role players, including the SAPS, can strengthen these efforts. AfriForum’s safety conference was a next step to accelerate the countrywide implementation of AfriForum’s practical security plan,” Kriel said.
According to Ian Cameron, AfriForum’s Head of Community Safety, South Africans must take ownership of their safety: “If we condone unrighteousness without taking action, we will lose the ability to protect ourselves and others – we must act.”
Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, emphasised deterrence by possessing power, and not by using power, because if one has power, one should not have to use it. “No one would like to attack a large armed community. Defensibility is the only answer to defencelessness.”
Dr Johan Burger (of the Institute for Security Studies), Conway Evertson (Director of the Ministry of Community Safety in the Western Cape), Prof. Rudolph Zinn (criminology expert at UNISA), Ben Freeth (Zimbabwean activist and farmer), and retired Genl. Maj. Roland de Vries (former Deputy Chief of the SADF) also addressed the conference. An exclusive video interview with Genl. Maj. Johan Booysen (former Head of the Falcons in KwaZulu-Natal) was also broadcast at the conference.
AfriForum appeals to members of the civil rights watchdog as well as members of the public to become involved in security structures.
To join an AfriForum neighbourhood watch or to get involved, SMS “Buurtwag” to 45353 (R1) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statement issued by Ian Cameron, Head: Community Safety, AfriForum, 6 May 2017