One last time: Be an Active Citizen

I wrote my very first column for the Pretoria News in 2006.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the weekly Tuesday column which has focused on hundreds and hundreds of issues.

This is my last column. You are welcome to follow me on my blog www.abramjee.com or on Twitter @abramjee.

It’s a good time to reflect on some of my writings:

On the Limpopo textbook scandal: "I am surprised that the Premier of Limpopo and the Education MEC still have jobs. They should have been fired long ago."

On the Limpopo textbook scandal: “I am surprised that the Premier of Limpopo and the Education MEC still have jobs. They should have been fired long ago.”

*There is no doubt that government handled the e-tolling issue poorly right from the very beginning.

*A large chunk of the anonymous tip-offs to Crime Line and to Crime Stop are drug related. This is a clear indication of just how widespread the problem is.

*On Sunday, I called the 10111 number to report a suspicious vehicle. The operator hung up on me a few times and then said: ‘F*** off’.

*We as residents need to use lights and water sparingly. While we need to ensure that we conserve energy, the authorities also have to ensure that we can keep up with the cost of living.

On former National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele: "When former police commissioner, General Bheki Cele, ‘militarized’ the ranks shortly after he took office, it was the start of a “skop, skiet and donder” approach."

On former National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele: “When former police commissioner, General Bheki Cele, ‘militarized’ the ranks shortly after he took office, it was the start of a “skop, skiet and donder” approach.”

*There seems to be a growing culture of recklessness, negligence and lawlessness on the roads.

*Promises mean nothing to those who bear the brunt of non-delivery every day across our many towns, cities and remote areas of our country.

*Please continue to assist NGO’s and rape crisis centres who are in dire need of financial assistance and volunteers.

*Become an active citizen!

*Freedom of speech and expression should be used responsibly.

*Sport is not only about winning. When we lose, we must accept defeat and continue to be loyal supporters. Read more

To conquer rape, we need to beat drugs

stoprapeThe #StopRape campaign remains top of mind as we continue to be bombarded with horrific stories of women and children being raped and abused daily.

Has the awareness over recent weeks made any difference? I think it has, to some extent.

South Africans have been thinking and talking about this societal scourge. It has also resulted in the government taking action.

Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education launched the #StopRape campaign in schools
this month.

Pupils and teachers were asked to adopt a pledge. This has raised awareness among our youth, who are often targets.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which assist rape victims are cash-strapped. Many struggle to survive
with limited resources and the end result is that victims suffer. The government must urgently allocate financial resources to credible NGOs.

Experts say substance abuse contributes significantly to incidents of rape. President Jacob Zuma confirmed this when he launched the #StopRape campaign in Cape Town.

This means we have to plough efforts into fighting substance abuse in our communities. To point fingers at the government alone for the rape and drug scourge is unfair. We, as citizens, all need to take responsibility.

Drug dealers continue to target the vulnerable. We must stand up and do something. We need
partnerships at all levels.

Communities must unite and become involved in this fight. Law enforcement agencies need to tackle this problem with renewed vigour and social services have an important role to play.

Effective programmes must be rolled out.

I addressed the community of Bedfordview last week together with Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros. Read more

We are all in this together

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lt.General Mzwandile Petros addressed the Bedfordview 'State of the Surburb' community meeting.

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lt.General Mzwandile Petros addressed the Bedfordview ‘State of the Surburb’ community meeting.

I attended a “State of the Suburb” community meeting in Bedfordview, Johannesburg last night, which was organised by the local Community Policing Forum (CPF).

The turnout was fantastic.

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lt. General Mzwandile Petros and Community Safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko was there too, including representatives from the SHOUT Foundation.

The Bedfordview CPF is credited with being one of the foremost structures in South Africa. What is their secret?

General Petros also indicated it is the first CPF to invite him to engage on a community level.

Together with her team, Marina Constas, chairwoman of the Bedfordview CPF, works tirelessly with the community and local police to achieve a collective goal of preventing and curbing crime.

This community is a fantastic example of why CPFs exist in the first place and what they should do to fulfill their mandate.

There are too many examples of dysfunctional CPFs that are driven by their own personal or political agendas.

These CPFs have no relationship with the local police, nor do they listen or carry out the mandate by residents in their communities.

If this is true of your community, expose them to the provincial CPF board or if you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Line or Crime Stop.

marina

Marina Constas, chairwoman of the Bedfordview CPF.

The rot and corruption is not going to end if we don’t take the initiative to expose it. It is both your right and responsibility.

Bedfordview should serve as an example that we have to work together and look out for each other in our communities.

We can no longer afford to isolate ourselves behind our high walls and electrified fences.

Get to know your neighbours and take collective responsibility to achieve the type of community you want and you want your kids to grow up in.

Last night we heard from the CPF about the conditions that local police have to work in. Morale is low.

The majority of police officers were described as dedicated and Constas called on the community to support and encourage them. Read more

Let’s tell the world SA has a lot of good to offer

2010_fifa_world_cup_fans_2

The success of the 2010 Soccer World Cup did much to boost South Africa’s reputation as a world class destination.

South Africa has been making international headlines over recent months.

The last time the country grabbed global attention to this extent, was when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and during the first democratic election in 1994.

More recently, the Marikana blood-bath, the rape scourge, “Blade runner” Oscar Pistorius killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and the Daveyton police brutality incident have tainted our image locally and abroad.

South Africa has made the headlines across the world for all the wrong reasons over recent months – and even locally many appear to be disillusioned about what has been happening. Read more

Clarion call to break silence on abuse of rights

Making headlines for all the wrong reasons – the SAPS has been shamed by their handling of (from left) the Oscar Pistorius case, the death of Andries Tatane at the hands of police, the Marikana massacre and the most recent case of police brutality following the death of taxi driver, Mido Macia in Daveyton.

Making headlines for all the wrong reasons – the SAPS has been shamed by their handling of (from left) the Oscar Pistorius case, the death of Andries Tatane at the hands of police, the Marikana massacre and the most recent case of police brutality following the death of taxi driver, Mido Macia in Daveyton.

“Human Rights Day (21 March) presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.”

This year, we have much to reflect upon.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is making international headlines again following the torture and subsequent death of a Mozambican national in Daveyton.

Earlier, we had the Marikana blood-bath and the murder of Andries Tatane in the Free State. These are the high-profile cases.

But what about the many cases where ordinary citizens get abused and tortured by those in uniforms and yes, they call themselves “law enforcers”.

The SAPS has a serious problem and it requires urgent intervention at the highest level.

A call has now been made for a judicial commission of enquiry into the police to ascertain the general cause/s of the police conduct.

I don’t think there is a need for a commission. It’s simply lawlessness of the worst form and an abuse of power by SAPS members. They must be treated as criminals and the law must come down hard on them. Read more