Open letter from Tony Ehrenreich, COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, to President Jacob Zuma:
Open letter to the President of South Africa
From: COSATU Western Cape
Re gang crisis in W Cape
Dear comrade President
Please receive correspondence from our offices in respect of the crisis of gangs and drugs in the Western Cape, in the light of the appeal by the Premier Zille for the army to be deployed here.
The situation is without doubt dire, as the bodies pile up and people are virtual prisoners in their own homes. The Provincial Government, the City of Cape Town and the Police services have been unable to assist the people of the Cape Flats. There is no plan from the Premier that inspires people with hope that a solution is imminent.
Given this crisis we would support any measures that can bring peace, including the deployment of the army. This however has to happen in the context of a plan that brings together all the agencies and communities and their organisations, as key participants, in charting the way forward.
The Provincial Government is now using the crisis as a political game, at the cost of our children’s lives. And this clearly needs to be mitigated with an intervention from the highest office in the land. Concerns to be addressed urgently are as follows:
- The MEC of safety in the Province seems to be negotiating with gangsters to sell their drugs without shooting people, a route that has proven unsuccessful and only gave the gangsters some legitimacy.
- The Premier refuses to consult and include organisations representing significant communities in the W Cape in an action plan, e.g. COSATU, religious organisations, anti-crime groups, because she sees them as being ANC aligned.
- The Premier is like a reporter reporting on events, in a manner that identifies problems and provides very little by way of solutions, for the problems of working families. This sound bite-driven focus of governance, does not inspire confidence and hope in communities that there is an alternative to gangs, and further demoralises the youth.
There is a clear absence of leadership on this matter of gangs and drugs and calling for the deployment of the Army without a coherent plan is just a populist way to deflect responsibility for resolving the crisis. We plea with your office to urge the Premier to display greater leadership, and call on your office to work with all the role players, to craft a solution that inspires our people to action against this scourge and threat to their safety.
COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary
Issued by COSATU Western Cape, July 11 2012