Session was an eye-opener

Councillor Mark RH Kleinschmidt, Kenwyn

I attended a session of the “commission of inquiry” hosted by the Trauma Centre – Survivors of Violence and Torture, held at the Novalis Institute in Wynberg.

The session was facilitated by Commissioner Dr Llewelyn MacMaster with testifiers afforded 15 minutes to deliver their submissions.

Dr McMaster displayed much empathy to each testifier – made up of individuals and community-based organisations sharing issues of violence in schools (Jonavon Rustin – SADTU), teenage pregnancies (Caroline), a solution-based mobile app for schools (Trevor Lawrence), the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum (Faizal Brown) supporting victims of violence, and the United Front (John Cloete) organisation tackling safety and security in the light of the alarming crime statistics released by national Police Minister Bheki Cele.

My personal assimilation of each testimony was that the scourge of crime had reached epidemic proportions, affecting society and communities.

It was shocking to learn that 99% of children had experienced some form of violence before the age of 18 in Soweto (SA Medical Journal), and many believe that it may be higher in the Western Cape.

I pray that the testimonies and submissions to the commission will serve as a meaningful yardstick in meaningful strategies and the establishment of interventions tackling the scourge of crime, especially violence and abuse against women and children.