Gangsterism 'a response to socio-economic problems' - NPO

Residents living in crime-ridden areas in the Cape Flats say they're being held hostage in their own homes.

They say constant gunfire means their children can't play outside for the fear of being shot by stray bullets.

Premier Helen Zille has written to National Police Minister Bheki Cele requesting more resources for the province.

Dr Simon Howell, a researcher at African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum says these situations are generated by social problems which need to be addressed in order for people to have a viable livelihood.

Read: 'We are tired of being excluded from the economic activities of this country'

Gangsterism is ultimately a response to this economic socio issues.

Dr Simon Howell, researcher at African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum

Young people growing up in these communities still want to have an identity, they want to be someone. And in the areas where you do not have full access to the economy, the question is how do you access material wealth, access tools and means by which you can have an identity? Gangsterism ultimately offers that and that is why they have so much power.

Dr Simon Howell, rsearcher at African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum

The results are tragic and problematic and these results need to be dealt with by the police.

Dr Simon Howell, sesearcher at African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum

Howell says it is easy to blame politicians when things get out of hand but gangsterism is a result of all our failures to integrate societies and to provide young people with alternatives.

Criminal activities become attractive when you don't have those resources.

Dr Simon Howell, researcher at African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum

Talking about the policing crisis in these areas, Howell says the kind of response we see is creating more problems.

He says fighting gang violence with guns is just making the situation worse.

To hear the rest of the conversation with Dr Simon Howell, listen below:


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