A child’s plaintive screams go unheard as its mother lights up and takes a deep toke from her lolly pipe. The baby is showing clear signs of neglect, her hair is matted and her cheeks are tear-streaked while her nappy is soiled. She tries in vain to get her mother’s attention, but to no avail.
A frail grandmother dreads the monthly SASSA pay out-her grandson has succumbed to substance abuse and grabs the card as he rushes off to fill the merchant’s pockets. She stares futilely at his departing figure and curses the day drugs made their way into the community.
In another household, the children cower as they await their father’s footsteps as he makes his way home from the shebeen. Their mother has to remain strong, but her insides have turned to jelly.
Related Story: SASSA not nearly enough for recipients?
She will be his punching bag again tonight and as the blows rain down on her, she wonders where she can turn to for help as he savagely delivers another kick to her ribs.
Police on patrol shake their heads in disbelief at the cases they bear witness to, some take their lives after being exposed to endless murder scenes and wonder if this is what humanity has been reduced to.
The Local Drug Action Committee (LDAC) and numerous stakeholders in Eldorado Park made a pledge at the grave of murdered four-year-old Shaynice Talla three months ago that something tangible had to be done to put an end to the senseless violence inflicted on our women and children.
Related Story: 7 things you need to know about the social grants debacle
LDAC chairperson, Cheryl Pillay said that there would be a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to perpetrators of these crimes in Eldos at the launch of the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign at JJ’s Rooftop on November 25.
Pillay said, “When we stood at her grave, we pledged zero tolerance to children and women abuse. We vowed that no other child in our community would suffer a similar fate.”
The campaign was activated the following Monday at the traffic lights on the Main Road with the aim of taking services to all areas within the Greater Eldorado Park. According to Pillay, the areas visited were the clinic in Extension Two, Freedom Park, Kersiedorp, Slovo Park and Extension One.
The campaign yielded a good turnout from residents as about 900 people sought assistance and four were referred to drug rehabilitation facilities, while eight children were removed from environments where neglect was rife.
This year’s campaign included 15 stakeholders who were visible throughout and included the Eldorado Park branch of the South African Police Service, local councillors, sports personalities and representatives from the department of correctional services who Pillay lauded for their participation.
The campaign culminated in the celebration of World Aids Day on December 1 and Pillay said, “Thank you to all the stakeholders involved for the week, it was amazing, over 15 stakeholders involved.
“Thank you to the community for tapping into the services on the ground. We continue and will not stop in this campaign of zero tolerance.”