The South African government is deploying a number of strategies to respond to the recent wave of civil unrest linked to xenophobia and drug and gang-related violence, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has said in Cape Town.Addressing the National Assembly during a question and answer session on Thursday, Ramaphosa said the civil unrest in Pretoria’s townships occurred in places that were plagued by socio-economic challenges like poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“Government’s response to these challenges is therefore multi-faceted and multi-pronged. The response involves not only the organs of the state, but also civil society formations, community groupings and individual citizens,” he said.
The Deputy President said the approach to the challenges could be seen in the government’s new national strategy against “gangsterism,” which was approved by Cabinet on 1 March 2017.
He said government, in developing the strategy, undertook a diagnostic process which confirmed that “gangsterism” was rooted in socio-economic conditions, and is therefore not merely a law enforcement issue.
“The strategy places communities at the centre of efforts to prevent and combat gangsterism. It aims to empower communities by addressing human development, social cohesion, unemployment, poverty and inequality.
“It prioritises social partnerships with civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders,” he said, adding that the strategies would be implemented alongside other effective law enforcement strategies.