Restorative justice agenda brought hope to gang-rife Kanana township, Orkney...

Kanana: Residents of Kanana township in Orkney, City of Matlosana Local Municipality, say the restorative justice plan initiated by the Office of the Premier is the first step in the right direction as it has brought hope that gangsterism in their township will one day be a thing of the past. This was expressed today, Monday 12 December at a community engagement meeting held at Kanana sport ground.

Organised by the Reconciliation, Healing and Renewal directorate in the Office of the Premier in working together with City of Matlosana Local Municipality, Religious leaders, Traditional healers and the two Non-Profit Organisations, Kanana Academic Socio-Enterprise Development Forum (KASEDF) and Restoring Youth Dignity, the community meeting brought members of the eleven (11) gang groups and victims of gang crimes together, this in push for unity and reconciliation.

Addressing residents who came in huge numbers, Premier Mahumapelo challenged members of the gangs to jealously protect the community against criminal acts, instead of being the ones harassing and killing community members. 

“The police cannot do the crime prevention duty alone. The community of Kanana must play their part. We must resolve the problems in this area, and this can only be achieved if we protect one another and remain united”, said Premier Mahumapelo.   

Peter Lebona (25), a member of one of the gang groups, thanked government’s RHR initiative, saying it is programmes such as this one that will save the community, especially the young people, from destroying their future.

“We wish to also thank the Kanana Academic Socio-Enterprise Development Forum (KASEDF) and Restoring Youth Dignity Non-Government Organisation for taking us through this journey of reconciliation. As we accept with sorrow the terrible, hurtful and insensitive things we did in the past, we want to tell the community that we want to change, and request all to please give us a second chance”.

Mrs Nomvula Vanya whose 21 year old son was brutally killed in June this year during one of the gang fights incidents, said the death of his son was hurtful and unforgettable.

“However, I have forgiven the killers of my son. Let us give our children a second chance. As their parents, we have hope that with our support, they will change”, said the sobbing Vanya.

As part of the provincial government’s intervention programmes aimed at addressing youth unemployment in this township, Premier Mahumapelo pronounced the establishment of youth co-operatives, learnership opportunities and bursaries allocation, the beneficiaries of which are mostly selected members of the gang groups and unemployed youth from affected families.

“This restorative justice initiative is a long term programme which requires undivided support and commitment from all of us”, remarked Premier Mahumapelo urging the City of Matlosana Local Municipality leadership to facilitate engagements with the mines and businesses around this area to consider creating more employment opportunities and target the youth in Kanana township.

Amongst other leaders present were some provincial Members of Executive Council, Executive Mayors, Members of the Premier’s Advisory Committee on RHR, Religious Leaders and Traditional Healers.

Kanana township became notorious a few years ago for its rise in gang fights which have led to terrorisation and brutal killings of residents, rapes and vandalism of properties.   

TheReconciliation, Healing and Renewal programme is one of the five concretes the fifth administration has resolved to promote among the people of the North West Province, this in its effort to advance some of the government’s priority outcomes of social protection, a long and healthy life for all, nation building and social cohesion.