Where are the youth centres? ISS highlights issues contributing to gang violence

There were 1,120 gang killings nationally and over 900 of these occurred in the Cape.

FILE: Children standing on the pavement during SANDF operations in Elsies River. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The latest crime figures showed that 84% of gang-related murders in South Africa occurred in the Western Cape.

There were 1,120 gang killings nationally and over 900 of these occurred in the Cape.

The Institute for Security Studies' Gareth Newman said gang violence in Cape Town was fuelled by an influx of firearms, a lack of youth programmes and a shortage of job opportunities.

“You need skills training programmes that lead to real jobs. You also need social workers who can help to identify issues and opportunities among youth.”

He said eradicating gangsterism would require a range of interventions.

“You need a multitude of programmes to deal with gangs. What’s been happening is that police or military go in, but there’s no new youth centre or engagement with the youth.

Newman added the government was not changing its approach and failed to implement clear evidence-based localised strategies.