By Dr Bruce Copley
History is full of countless examples of simple solutions to seemingly insurmountable and complex problems. The "each one teach one" practice in China which quickly solved the problem of massive illiteracy, and the deflation of the tyres of a large transport truck to enable it to pass through a low tunnel are examples of simple bright ideas that have done the trick.
Unfortunately bright ideas are frequently overlooked, ignored and even ridiculed. The illustration below depicts this common occurrence.
Thirteen years after our historic elections much has been achieved in the new South Africa - WE DO HOWEVER HAVE A MAJOR CRIME PROBLEM WHICH IS GETTING PROGRESSIVELY WORSE AND NOW THREATENS THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY. The many determined efforts to solve this problem using conventional "crime fighting" approaches have clearly met with little or no success.
What follows is the kernel of a proposal which may offer a simple solution to a country in crisis.
If our country was threatened by a powerful external enemy how would we respond? We would call upon all South Africans (particularly our young men), mobilise our resources, unite our minds and hearts and do everything in our power to overcome the threat.
The South African criminal element is an internal enemy that is reaping as much if not more havoc than a foreign invader would. For many decades South Africans took successful steps to protect their country against external enemies. In the sixties I personally spent months patrolling our northern border against foreign insurgents.
The idea I am proposing very simply involves reintroducing conscription not for military but for a kind of community service. A large part of such a NATIONAL COMMUNITY SERVICE CALL UP would be directed towards law enforcement and peace keeping. What follows are some ideas and benefits regarding this national service with a difference.
Mandatory for all school leavers (male and female) for a period of 6 to 12 months. It could be immediately implemented by calling for volunteers.
Voluntary involvement by other South African adults - particularly in leadership, training and education roles and functions.
Creation of special units to deal with specific problem areas e.g. hijackings, robberies, fraud, child abuse, traffic offences, drugs, etc.
Involvement and collaboration of all relevant organisations e.g. educational, business, military, police, civic, religious, etc.
Such a service would provide our youth with valuable life skills training, promote racial harmony and understanding, assist the previously disadvantaged and serve as a practical career guidance exercise. It would in essence constitute a type of finishing school.
A national community service would teach and prepare our people to develop and maintain an integrated, caring and peaceful society as surely as an efficient military service prepares its citizens to make war.
Is our young nation prepared to spend as much time, energy and money on promoting and maintaining peace as it would be on preparing for war ?
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION DOES NOT ONLY APPLY TO THE SERIOUS MATTERS AT HAND, BUT TO THE EQUALLY IMPORTANT MATTERS OF THE HEART AND SPIRIT.
Footnote: If what you have read strikes a cord in you, you are both invited and challenged to do something about it, whatever that may be.
For further information please Contact AAHA Learning.