Home PodcastJulie Alli Bulletproof park to shield children from gang violence

Bulletproof park to shield children from gang violence

by Zahid Jadwat

Gun Free SA has proposed a ‘bulletproof park’ to shield children of Mitchells Plein from gun violence. [Picture: Gun Free SA]


An “outrageous solution for an outrageous problem”. That is how Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) described their latest solution to gun violence affecting children in South Africa. The “bulletproof park” is just that, according to its director.

Earlier this month, the NGO proposed the world’s first “bulletproof park”. Provoking a bittersweet reaction, it is deemed the best option to keep children safe from the bullets flying in violence-ridden communities.

Speaking in an interview on Salaamedia, Adele Kirsten, director of GFSA, said “unprecedented” levels of children caught in crossfires while playing on the Cape Flats have necessitated such a drastic proposal.

In a country where 34 people are killed and shot daily, according to the group, child victims are no exception.

“The data shows that children 12 years and under are disproportionately at risk for being shot and killed or injured in a crossfire,” said Kirsten, relying on information from the Red Cross Childrens’ Hospital and national statistics.


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Outrageous solution

As a world-first, a bulletproof park, designed to cater for 24 children at a time, will have additional security features like a panic button, secure entrances, and constant monitoring. An outrageous solution, Kirtsen said it was the next best thing to eradicating guns.

According to initial cost estimates, GFSA believes each bulletproof park would come with a price tag of R10 million. Although it sounds pricey, this is pocket change compared to the group’s own 2014 calculation of the R4 billion price of gunshot victims presenting at state hospitals.

Said Kirsten: “When you’re looking at what is it going to cost us to reduce gun violence in the country, we have to match it with what is it currently costing us. We know the solution is to reduce the circulation and availability of guns, because … when you do that, gun deaths reduce.”

At this point, she noted, “people are so frustrated in communities with high levels of gun violence. It’s protest action, it’s memorials, it’s flowers, it’s candles, and it’s enough; we need some kind of action. It’s an outrageous proposal for an outrageous problem”.

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