COMMUNITY

Addressing urban ills

Durban Mayor, James Nxumalo
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Various stakeholders including the Municipality, Provincial Government, private entities, police and NGOs have committed themselves to being a part of the Qalakabusha Albert Park Intervention Programme, aimed at addressing social ills that exist in the area in order to make it safer, cleaner and more attractive.

At a recent stakeholders’ meeting called by Durban Mayor, James Nxumalo, the parties signed a pledge committing themselves to working together to deal with the challenges at Albert Park and in other parts of the City. Mayor Nxumalo emphasised that challenges of vagrancy, loitering, drug-abuse and criminal elements at Albert Park needed to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, as this was not only tarnishing the image of the City but also reflected the socio-economic challenges facing our society.

He said that a multi-disciplinary approach needed to be implemented as the problems at Albert Park touched on all sectors of life; including social, mental and economic factors. “During our interaction with the vagrants at Albert Park, some of them indicated that they would like to be re-united with their families and go back to school while others said that they would like to be rehabilitated so they can stop taking drugs. It is then our duty to put in place strategic measures that will ensure that these people receive the necessary help so that in the long-run we do not find ourselves facing the same problem,” said Nxumalo, adding that it has also been noted that the groups are slowly moving into other parts of the City and this needs to be curbed urgently. He said this initiative is part of the Clean My City Programme aimed at ensuring that citizens take ownership of the City's cleanliness and maintanance.

Dr Musa Gumede, Deputy City Manager of the Community and Emergency Services Cluster who is also leading the multi-disciplinary task team said that several key intervention strategies had been identified. These include; the screening of drug-users, rehabilitation, re-integration into society, re-unification with families, issuing of identity documents, skills development and job creation and drug supply reduction. He said the team was considering establishing a One Stop Intervention Programme where drug-users could access services in a multi-sectoral setting closer to Albert Park. Another intervention would be to set up a hotline for members of the public to access information about their children.

The drug-supply reduction approach would include identification of production and manufacturing sources; identification and rehabilitation of bad buildings; enforcement of bylaws and the provision of information and intelligence on drug-dealing.

The task team agreed that by June 2014 reasonable progress should have been made in dealing with social challenges at Albert Park and they should be able to assess whether the intervention strategies are working or not.

 

 

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