Two retired police officers join the fight against school violence and youth substance abuse

With incidents of school violence, bullying, vandalism, gangsterism as well as drug and alcohol abuse on the rise in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, the Safer South Africa Foundation (SSAF) has stepped up its crime prevention efforts to curb the worrisome plague.

“We are pleased to announce the appointment of two retired police officers to work together with local authorities. The provincial coordinator for Mpumalanga is Colonel (Bishop) Simon Moyane while Brigadier Phuti Setati will lead Limpopo province. Their appointments are in line with SSAF’s growth strategy in terms of which provincial coordinators have been appointed in KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and North West. Next year, the school violence prevention programme will be rolled out in Northern Cape,” said SSAF CEO, General (retired) Riah Phiyega.

Phiyega added that SSAF was pleased that the officers responded positively to the pleas of parents, educators and the communities at large in the respective provinces for urgent steps to be taken in view of the escalating school violence.

Moyane worked as a chaplain in the SAPS, working within the Employee Health and Wellness department providing spiritual support and services to police officers. The support included ethical policing, trauma counselling, substance abuse and suicide prevention strategies as well as spearheading the moral regeneration campaign.

“What attracted me to SSAF is its focus on youth as change agents. I believe that their energy can be directed at creating safer environments for their communities to thrive. As a retired police officer, I believe the programme goes a long way in building relationships and narrowing the gap between law enforcement agencies, the criminal justice system and the communities they serve,” said Moyane.

Setati started off his policing career in 1983 and served as a station commander in Limpopo before being promoted to police spokesperson at the national office.

“I am pleased that I have been given the opportunity to serve my community yet again. The work we are doing clears myths, misunderstandings and improves collaboration between the police and communities. This way, we can nip crime in the bud,” Setati explained.

Safer South Africa Foundation said in a statement that both Moyane and Setati have hit the ground running, engaging with education and criminal justice authorities with a view of rolling out the foundation’s Criminal Justice Programme from early next year. The aim is to reach at least six schools and about 300 learners each year per province.

According to the Department of Basic Education, in 2019 Mpumalanga was the leading school violence hotspot, with 414 schools affected while Limpopo came in last with only 22 schools impacted.

The programme is presented to grade 10 and 11 learners and is aimed at ensuring that the learners are exposed to the entire criminal justice system value chain, the role of each agency, the legislative framework informing the mandates of the practitioners as well as the individual rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Most importantly, how communities can support crime-fighting initiatives. Learners will also visit a correctional service centre to learn about life in prison and attend a mock trial in court to understand different roles played by the prosecutor, magistrate and the police.

“I do not doubt that both Brigadier Setati and Colonel Moyane will use their extensive policing and community relations experience to advance SA South Africa Foundation’s objectives. We wish them well and trust the criminal justice and education fraternity will give them the required support,” concluded General Phiyega.

*The Safer South Africa Foundation exists to mobilise under-resourced communities to build awareness and ability to work together in the fight against crime. The Foundation fosters a better understanding of community and safety issues and improves relationships between the community and the law enforcement agencies. In addition to its work with communities, the Foundation seeks to actively contribute to the national discourse on crime and community safety matters by understanding research, advocacy, and campaigns.

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