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The High Cost of Crime in Mooiuitsig

This article is a partial repeat of a recent Buzz story. Please do read the entire thing: they need our help!

Pikkewyntjies is a registered Non-Profit Organisation [NPO], run under the auspices of Child Welfare and the Department of Social Development. Parents who can afford to, pay R150 per month in school fees and Social Development pays R15 per day for SOME of the children. Out of this meagre monthly income, four salaries need to be paid, as well as rental, electricity, water and food bills. There is also the significant cost of replenishing the educational resources needed to keep the children stimulated.

Pikkewyntjies has a monthly shortfall of close to R1000 and the staff and the supporters of the school are constantly involved in fund-raising activities. These are time-consuming and enervating. The energy and time that is spent chasing funds could be so much better spent on the children themselves.

According to Zaan, the crime wave in Betty’s Bay is costing the school dearly. It is her opinion and the opinion of many who live in Mooiuitsig that Betty’s Bay residents regard Mooiuitsig as the source of all the crime in the area. As a result, several residents are withdrawing their financial support of the school and are refusing to employ people who live in Mooiuitsig. This, in conjunction with the deteriorating economic climate, is making life ever more difficult for the parents. 90% of the children in the school have single mothers and most do domestic or casual work. Currently, they are struggling to find employment and, more and more, mothers find themselves unable to pay the school fees. Because removing affected children from the school is an option that Zaan refuses even to contemplate, and because running costs are ever-escalating, the funding shortfall increases monthly.

Zaan, who has her finger on the Mooiuitsig pulse more than anyone else I have met, says that the prevalent belief that Mooiuitsig residents are solely responsible for the crime in Betty’s Bay is completely unfounded. While a few members of the community, no more than seven, are involved in the wider crime ring, the majority of the Mooiuitisig residents are regular law-abiding citizens. While many are aware of what is going on, they feel compelled to keep their mouths firmly shut, as they live with the threat of being killed or having their houses burnt down if they dare speak to the authorities. However, the parents do confide in Zaan.

The Mooiuitsig residents feel as strongly about the crime wave in Betty’s Bay as we all do. It must be remembered that they too are frequent victims of break-ins. Like us, they feel that the police need to do more to combat crime in the area. They also complain that convicted criminals seldom serve their full sentences. When the ringleaders are in jail, the crime levels in Mooiuitsig and the rest of Betty’s Bay drop, but on their release the problems of theft resume immediately in the wider area and theft, drug-dealing and drug taking intensify in Mooiuitsig itself.