Deputy Minister of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize (left image) and 21 year old Community Health Worker Tsholofelo Kgomonngwe (right image) at Jozi Ihlomile (a Department of Health initiative), at Cosmo City Multipurpose Centre speaking at the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT) community dialogue that took place yesterday in order to address combating violence again vulnerable groups such as women and children. [Images supplied by NCVT: High resolution images available on request]
As part of their 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT) engaged in a community dialogue at Cosmo City Multi-Purpose Centre yesterday. The event served as a platform for the youth and residents to raise local social injustices.

 

In keeping with this year’s theme for the campaign, ‘Count me in’, the NCVT Youth Choir welcomed guests with their melodic voices and sang celebratory songs to symbolise how important each community members’ involvement within their community is.

 

Deputy Minister of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, and founder of NCVT, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize joined the discussion and shared the grave social effects that abuse and violence has on the community, especially if it is unreported.

 

SAPS Warrant Officer Ramalatso of Social Crime Prevention, added concerns about the large number of withdrawn cases at the local police station, especially domestic violence related ones, and encouraged community members to join the movement in fighting against crime. “It’s a challenge and very frustrating for officials to see cases through when victims of abuse retract their statements or close the case reported due to it being doubtful or mending their relationships with their partners,” he shared. “We do everything in our power to keep witnesses safe and ensure that the process is conducted efficiently to keep them safe,” he explained. Ramalatso went on to advise the community to be more vigilant and safe during the festive season as violence and crime rates increase during this time.

 

“The law should protect women and children against violent crimes so that they don’t lose their femininity and dignity,” said Mkhize as attendees observed a moment of silence for the women who have lost their lives to violence.

 

Taking to the podium and representing the youth of Cosmo City, 21 year old Community Health Worker, Tsholofelo Kgomonngwe, shared challenges that she felt the youth of her community faced, specifically touching on unemployment and education. “When we are unemployed or robbed of opportunities, we turn to violence, prostitution or substance abuse out of frustration,” said Kgomonngwe. “We plead with our government to help combat nepotism and unfair appointments of officials across the board. We believe that these are the primary contributors to the increasing unemployment rate and want to rectify this in order to give the youth of South Africa a fair chance in building our beautiful and diverse country up to the potential we know that it has,” concluded Kgomonngwe.

 

The day ended on a solution-based approach as members of the Service Providers Forum (SPF) encouraged dialogue with the guests.  Attendees alerted the panel to issues ranging from service delivery to local economic development in Cosmo City. Community members and the youth were mostly advised to equip themselves with knowledge about activities and opportunities available locally and were directed to the Community Liaison Officer or Local Municipality for more information.

 

“We are nearing the end of our 16 Days of Activism Campaign and as we reflect on the year, we are extremely satisfied with all of our community outreach programmes conducted  thus far. We definitely won’t stop here and will continue to offer support to as many victims of abuse in Gauteng as we possibly can,” concludes Bridget Seabi, NCVT Social Worker.

 

To make donations or volunteer towards NCVT causes, the public can contact ncvtprojects@iafrica.com | +27 11 705-1960 | 079 390 1775. For more about NCVT, please visit www.ncvt.co.za.