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‘We need positive storylines on TV’

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'Millions of our people religiously sit glued to their screens every evening watching crime and violence...'

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THE NORTHERN Cape MEC for Social Development, Martha Bartlett, has indicated that she will seek an audience with the ministers of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services and Sport, Arts and Culture to engage broadcasters and producers to help “build a society and not lead young people astray in the name of entertainment”.

Speaking at the Debate on the State of the Province Address (Sopa) yesterday, Bartlett added that “we implore them to help us fight this scourge with storylines that help our cause”.

Bartlett pointed out that the government’s efforts to eliminate gender-based violence could not “be negated by television programmes whose storylines are premised on drugs and violence”.

“Millions of our people religiously sit glued to their screens every evening watching crime and violence elevated to the status almost synonymous with opulence and success in the Queen, Uzalo, Isibaya and Imbewu.”

Bartlett added further that the provincial government’s efforts to tackle graduate unemployment had been boosted by “a R9 million cash injection from our national sister department to appoint social workers”.

“Twenty-six of them have been appointed since November 2019 to intensify our fight against gender-based violence.”

She stated, however, that there were many other graduates struggling with both internship and employment opportunities in the Province and some of them were financially supported by government to complete their studies.

“To this lot, which includes social workers, I wish to say, gender-based violence, substance abuse and our expenditure on Secure Centres for children in conflict with the law is in the region of around R100 million. I therefore wish to call on all unemployed social work graduates to volunteer their services in their respective communities.

“I also wish to make the same call to corporate South Africa to come on board and play their role, so that together we can develop mechanisms to reduce or even eliminate these social ills.

“Our fight against gender-based violence has not only been intensified but it has also been heavily resourced. The R1.6 billion the president announced in his State of the Nation Address is proof enough that we mean business.

“At a provincial government level both the governing party and government makgotla have agreed that our efforts have been targeting mostly the victims with little or no focus on the perpetrators. To this end, I have instructed the officials in my department that henceforth we need to address this problem from the point of view of the people who commit these heinous deeds. This tendency of addressing a capacity crowd at Mayibuye talking to men who have never even hurt a fly in their lives is not assisting us. We shall henceforth have an audience with five perpetrators instead.”