NICRO Press Release

February 2016


“The content of the State Of The Nation Address (SONA) was disappointing. We have a country in crisis, faced with many critical challenges which require clear innovative solutions. Like Einstein said ‘we cannot do the same thing and expect different results, that is insanity’.” This, according to Soraya Solomon, CEO of NICRO (National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders).

Below is her take on what President Zuma said:

“Some of the issues touched upon by the President were the need to deal with unemployment as well as attracting tourism and investment. As NICRO we believe that it is time that the President acknowledges that the high level of crime is one of the critical issues affecting our fragile democracy.

Not having a bold plan to reduce crime in our country means that investment, tourism and the growth of our country will be negatively affected. The majority of the prison population is between the ages of 18 and 35 years, meaning that our young people are turning to a life of crime.

What does this mean for our country and, more specifically, our future leaders? There is a need for innovative solutions to prevent young people from committing crime. Through the years we have been faced with violence such as a school pupil being stabbed to death on the school grounds. What are the solutions? NICRO has been pioneering programmes that have proven to be effective in changing behaviour so that young people refrain from a life of crime.

Unfortunately, we don’t have enough resources to reach the high number of youth who are unemployed and have no means to further their education. We are also faced with another critical problem, which is finding solutions to reduce the levels of recidivism in our country in order to break the cycle of crime and violence. Again, NICRO has innovative programmes that require the support of government.

Further mention was made that Business should not retrench, however the President failed to mention that civil society organisations should also be assisted in ensuring that jobs are not lost. Over the past few years we have seen many civil society organisations retrenching staff, closing their doors or downscaling. This scenario has an even greater impact on the poorest of the poor who depend on the assistance of these organisations.

During the dark days of Apartheid, communities were mobilised by many civil society organisations to fight for our liberation. We are now faced with a weakened civil society that will not have the ability to render crucial services to those in need. I would have liked to hear the President’s plan to strengthen the arm of civil society organisations so to speak, so that we can work together to build and strengthen our democracy.”

“NICRO believes that, as a country, we have the will to ensure that we continue to strengthen our democracy, however it is time to take bold steps in order to do so,” concludes Solomon.

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