FIGHTING CRIME THROUGH FAMILY
FIGHTING CRIME THROUGH FAMILY
The Western Cape Government has announced that they have budgeted R87million over the following year to be allocated for fighting the war on drugs in the province and for preventative programs. Having grown up in the Western Cape and seeing the effects of the drug trade on communities I applaud the actions being taken by local government.
The lack of support that they have received from National Government is shocking and clearly about destabilizing the Western Cape rather than promoting what is best for the nation.
The Western Cape will increase policing, enhance the justice system and ensure that charges against drug lords are turned into convictions. They will in the end be carrying out a war against the drug lords and gangs which with the help of local communities aid in securing environments, make going to school safe and allow children to once again play outside in communal playgrounds. Opening up the chance for children to have a future outside of the drugs and gangs. This will be a war that must be fought across the spectrum of community from government to individual. However the policing of the streets and preventative programs will always fall a little or very short unless the core aspect of why most people do drugs. To weed out a problem you need to pull out the roots.
Over the past two years I have had the privilege of working with recovering drug addicts through the South Coast Recovery Center (www.scrc.co.za) in Ramsgate. Every week I meet with the residents for a spiritual session and what I have learned about the root cause of drugging above all other reasons begins in the family.
80-90% of all residents I have spoken with (about 200 different people) have found their original problem that led to their involvement in drugs is brokenness in their family. This ranges from abusive parents-primarily fathers- to absent parents, idolizing parents and trying to live up to their expectations or standards. Absent parents ranges from divorced parents, workaholics, disinterested and pre-occupied with other activities-hobbies, sport, church etc.
Many of the residents have been involved in some level of criminal activity because of their addiction including theft, prostitution, housebreaking, assault and murder. Many have seen their marriages break up and lost relationships with children. Businesses have closed down because of their addictions resulting in further job losses for others. The cycle of destruction continues and in the end hundreds of thousands of rands are lost through individuals because of drugging. The cost of counseling, legal fees, stolen property, the drugs themselves, loss of income for individuals and businesses and the cost to the public health sector and justice department end up into the millions eventually.
I visited the Leeuwkop Juvenile correctional services facility in Johannesburg for the graduation ceremony of a program a friend was running. I noticed a boy, about 15 or 16 years old with a tattoo that said, ‘sorry mom’. I asked the social worker what the general relationship was between the young men and their parents. She replied that many had good relationships with their mothers and grandmothers but few had any relationship with their fathers. Most were angry with their fathers or were forced into crime because of absent and abusive fathers.
I developed a friendship at high school with a one of the cleaning staff (janitors). His name is Cecil and lived Mannenberg a notorious gangland. His brothers were in gangs and he walked with a limp from a knife wound he sustained in his ankle. Cecil explained to me that few families in that area have both parents. Most are run by mothers or grandmothers and that there is a loss of identity for the children when the fathers disappear through divorce, death or prison. The gangs swoop in and become a new family for the gang members.
Many gang members would never become gangsters if their families were whole and if the community was family oriented. It has been found that sport has helped curb gang involvement in teens amongst gangland areas because of the sense of family felt by teammates.
The conclusion of the matter is that people will become embroiled in the drug culture and life for various reasons however the more we focus on whole healthy families, the more we will win the battles and hopefully have the upper hand in the war.