Ramaphosa: 'From Bonteheuwel to Westbury‚ let's end the violence of despair'

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concern about violent crime in many parts of the country‚ while welcoming communities that speak out and take to the streets to declare that they will not be terrorised into silence by criminals.

Delivering the 8th annual Desmond Tutu International Lecture in Cape Town‚ Ramaphosa said this was an issue that called for communities to come together. He urged religious‚ political and social formations‚ and the police‚ to work jointly to end the bloodshed‚ the tears and the economic hardship that visit every family that lost a loved one.

“We must do more to reverse the impact of apartheid urban spatial design on our social fabric. We also have to re-centre our moral compass and ask ourselves as individuals and families what we can do to improve our own lives and the lives of others in our communities‚” he said.

Ramaphosa commended communities that had taken action against social problems such as teenage pregnancy‚ substance abuse‚ domestic violence‚ gangsterism and organised crime.

“Inspired by Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu‚ who has dedicated his life to securing a better future for all‚ let us work together as government‚ as labour and as communities to bring peace to our streets and homes.

“From Bonteheuwel and Kensington to Westbury and Westdene‚ we need a social and moral regeneration that ends the violence of crime‚ the violence of poverty and the violence of despair.”

The communities of Bonteheuwel and Westbury have in recent weeks taken to the streets to protest rampant crime‚ drugs and gangsterism in their communities. They have also highlighted socio-economic deficiencies as being at the core of their problems.

Ramaphosa called on South Africans to honour Tutu’s work by developing “a doctrine of peace that should guide us to give full meaning to what peace should mean”.

Protests by community members erupted in Westbury after a woman, Heather Petersen, was killed by a stray bullet in a shootout. The Sunday Times went into the community to investigate living conditions in Westbury.

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