By Emily Setona
BETHLEHEM –Residents of Dihlabeng local municipality participated in a soccer tournament as part of social cohesion, during the just ended Easter holidays.
The event, which was held at Bakenpark Stadium, was organised by Victor Mofokeng from the Dihlabeng Development Initiative, a local community leader in collaboration with Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipality speaker Thabo Mokoena.
Mofokeng had this to say during an interview with this publication: “As a community development organization, we take full advantage of any opportunity to partner with other stakeholders to deal with issues such as substance abuse that plagues our communities. It is our duty and responsibility to create and promote healthy habits for men in our communities.
“This event is the beginning of many other public participation projects to come. Social cohesion is about creating a healthy environment and society where men and women support each and we break the cycle.”
Speaking to The Guard, Mokoena: “The long weekend is a time when men and women who mostly spend their time at work will find themselves at home with nothing to do. Our communities are rife with cases of gender-based violence (GBV) which tend to increase people are at home with nothing much to do.”
“As a servant of the community it is my plan to organize more of such events where men can find an outlet for their frustrations.”
The office of the Speaker planned this event to encourage men to come together in a neutral space to use sports, particularly soccer as a means of dealing with the stress and issues that they face on a daily basis.
Constable Tumelo Moeti from the Bethlehem police station was delighted that the Speaker’s office hosted the event in his backyard.
“Sports play a very pivotal role when it comes to the prevention or intervention plan against substance abuse,” Moeti said.
Moeti is a community policing officer (CPO) stationed in the local municipality of Dihlabeng. According to weekly statistics compiled by the social crime unit, most crimes perpetrated in communities are committed by individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol.
Moeti said substance abuse is a very stressful issue because it leads to cases of GBV.
Paul Mpada, one of the organizers of the master’s soccer tournament, said the games were started in the community of Bethlehem because they saw a need for men to come together to deal with their stress.
“As men it is very hard for us to talk about our problems, but when we come together to play or watch soccer this activity eases the stress and tensions that we deal with on a daily basis,” Mpada said.