Organised by the South African Police Service and the Makwassie Community Policing Forum, the dialogue divided participants into two groups. One group was charged with discussing the factors behind crime while the second group debated the causes of substance abuse.
According to Makwassie Police Station Commander Josias Engelbrecht, the dialogue provided important insights into social problems plaguing the community, which lies about 100 kms outside Klerksdorp.
“This will helps us know some of the important aspects that lead people to be involved in crime,” Engelbrecht told OurHealth. “Our aim is to have a better picture from the community about why young people involves themselves in crime at an early age.”
“We really want to benefit from this kind of knowledge and understanding so we can come up with strategies on how to solve such issues,” he added.
While drug-related crime has decreased in the last year in Makwassie, theft and burglary continue to be major issues in the community, according to the latest crime statistics. Community members at the meeting reported that poverty continued to fuel crime and drug abuse in the small town.
Makwassie resident Tshegofatso Mojaki, 22, said the dialogue was eye opening.
“This dialogue gave us a better picture about why some youth commit crime (and how) some substances like alcohol and dagga (can) be some of the most influential substances that drive people to crime,” Mojaki said.
“Educating people about the hazards of (drugs)… is very important,” she added. “It’s not necessary to damage our health for valueless things.”