The Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) has intensified the ICareWeCare campaign in several areas of the Gauteng province over the past months. Launched in 2016, the campaign is run in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) with to encourage communities to protect and take ownership of public property located in their areas. “The campaign seeks to educate communities about the negative effects of destroying public property, such as schools, hospitals, clinics, recreation facilities, libraries, and community centres,” said MRM’s ICareWeCare campaign coordinator, Mr Michael Mokobe.
During the months of November and December 2018, campaign activities were undertaken at ward level in Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng and the Westrand. Mokobe said the campaign activities included community dialogues, social media marketing, activations and the signing of pledge books. Pledge books are signed by members of the community, pledging their support to the campaign. The campaign aims to secure a million pledges by the end of March 2019.
A total of 200 pledge books are circulating in different communities under the supervision MRM’s regional coordinators and community facilitators. They will be collected, verified, recorded and tallied at the end of March 2019. Dialogues were held in Ekurhuleni townships of Etwatwa, Vosloorus, Tsakane.
In the TshwaneMetro, Mabopane, Memelodi and Hammanskraal also held dialogues, while in the Johannesburg Metro, dialogues where held in Eldorado Park, Poortjie and Soweto. On the Westrand, the dialogues were held in Merafong, Mogale City and Rand West City. These, according to Mokobe, were follow ups on dialogues held in 2017. The revisiting was aimed at to reinforcing the message, he added.
More than 5 000 people, some of them representing community-based organisations, had attended the dialogues. The dialogues help in identifying and addressing the underlying causes of the destruction and vandalism of public property through the facilitation of community conversations, said Mokobe. “The dialogues promote local problem-solving and advance social cohesion,” he added. Other aims of the ICareWecare community dialogues include:
- Foster and facilitate dialogue within communities around the concept of “people’s property”;
- Ensure active engagement with communities on destruction and vandalism of public property and finding sustainable solutions to societal problems;
- Create linkages between various community stakeholders and between communities and the relevant policy makers;
- Provide a safe space for communities to engage without fear and to tackle difficult issues head on;
- Help build the capacity that enables communities to take ownership of this dialogue process.
Mokobe said communities were raising various issues during the dialogues and complaining about apathy on the part of the authorities to address them. “There is anger and frustration due to a lack of constant responsiveness to service delivery challenges,” said Mokobe, summarizing the views expressed by communities in the various engagements. Persisting service delivery issues, housing (RDP Houses), water and sanitation, electricity, corruption, roads, unemployment, health facilities, land and crime were among the issues being raised.
Two ICareWeCare campaign activations were undertaken in Delyn Mall, Mamelodi and at the State Theatre, in Pretoria, to reach communities in city areas. On the other hand, MRM has been active in various townships, helping communities deal with issues of crime and vandalism. Following a break-in at the newly built state of the art Menzi Primary School, in Tsakane, the MRM convened a massive community meeting in partnership with the local ward councillor and the school’s governing body. The meeting, which was addressed by Gauteng education MEC, Mr Panyaza Lisufi, was attended by more than 900 community members.
Following this intervention, said Mokobe, police arrested four suspects as a result of community members providing information to the cops. “This is part of the ICareWeCare campaign – to protect public property from criminals and vandals,” said a cheerful Mokobe. The campaign’s social media campaign had enlisted hundreds of Facebook likes, while the its Twitter page had registered some 800 impressions.
Several dialogues are being held during this month in institutions of higher learning. It should be remembered that during violence that ensued in the wake of the #FeesMustFall protests in 2016/7 property valued at some R800-million was destroyed. The dialogues in several residential areas of the province are continuing.