There are more gangs than arts and culture programmes. According to Free State MEC of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mathabo Leeto high numbers of gangs in communities are due to lack of family values resulting in young people experimenting in the wrong activities thinking it’ll better their situation.
“The social ills in our communities, in most cases, they are influenced by lack of family values. In most households where there are no family values, the family is unable to provide for themselves and the young people would explore in negative activities, thinking they will better the situation,” she says.
According to Leeto the legacy of apartheid is still felt today, “we still talk about inequality, unemployment and poverty, all because of the legacy of apartheid. We have a responsibility as government and society to eradicate these social ills,” she adds.
During the Free State Provincial Legislature, she further says gangs tend to increase due to poverty in communities. In plans to tackle gangstersim, she says there will be more Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation programmes such choirs, soccer teams and indigenous games introduced to the impoverished communities.
Of those who do commit crime, the National Department of Correctional Services recently said that offenders sentenced to life imprisonment increased from about 400 in 1994 to more than 1100 in 2013. More than a third of those incarcerated are youth.