Enabling local government action to make communities safer

Project description

Title: Inclusive violence and crime prevention (VCP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agency: Department of Cooperative Governance as chair of a national Steering Committee
Overall term: 2012 to 2018

South Africa. Johannesburg © GIZ

People's mobility and quality of life, their participation in public life and in sustainable development greatly depend on the safety of public and private spaces. The high level of violence in South Africa is one of the obstacles to national development. Although the situation has slightly improved over the past few years, the country still ranks high in international comparisons. Inadequate access to public services, high unemployment and a lack of prospects, particularly for young people, are factors contributing to violence in society, as is the legacy of socially and spatially segregated urban development during apartheid.

The conditions for building safer communities are improved at local level. With the support of national and provincial government, local government is enabled to implement interventions aimed at the prevention of violence.

Local communities are directly affected by violence and crime but municipalities often lack the necessary resources and institutional capacities to contribute effectively to building safer communities and neighbourhoods. The project thus supports the strengthening of the capacities of local government and other actors, particularly in Eastern Cape and Gauteng Provinces, with a focus on metropolitan regions. The project works in three complementary areas of action:

  1. Closing the implementation gap: The integrated approach to building safer communities is to be embedded in governmental policies, strategies and programmes with the aim of their effective implementation at local level. Clarifying roles, functions and resource allocation arrangements between the three levels of the government system is crucial in this regard.
  2. Collaborative thinking and action: The project develops and strengthens platforms for exchange, networking and cooperation within government as well as between government and non-governmental actors. Cooperation between actors at different levels (national, provincial and local) and sectors is promoted in order to strengthen an integrated approach.
  3. Active youth for safe communities: The project strengthens youth-centred approaches and promotes the activation of young people in preventing violence. It also promotes investment in the creation of prevention measures that strengthen young people's resilience.

Networks supported by the project have fostered cooperation and built capacity among the actors involved; these networks include, for example, a knowledge-sharing and joint advocacy platform of cities on urban security (Urban Safety Reference Group), or the online portal, SaferSpaces, for violence prevention practitioners.

Facilitated by a group of young peer educators, more than 4,000 young people at 40 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have been enabled to play an active role in implementing violence prevention measures in their neighbourhoods. Other youth activation measures, supported by social media, have reached up to 20,000 young people in the pilot provinces and enabled them to engage directly with local and provincial government on their perspectives regarding safety and violence prevention.

Support has further been provided to mainstream violence prevention into government-wide programmes and processes, for example in the broad-based job creation programme, the Community Work Programme (CWP), and the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) at municipal level.

As part of policy advice, the topics of violence prevention and urban safety were integrated into the national Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) and support has been provided for pilot implementation measures in collaboration with partners.

South African experts and decision-makers have been supported in networking and peer-learning with experts from other countries, primarily in Europe, Africa and Latin America, hence promoting South-South and North-South exchange.

South Africa. Kids playing in front of a high-rise block © GIZ