The centres were originally established to facilitate vocational training courses, but today the buildings are used primarily for private functions and do not provide local, unemployed youths with the same opportunities.
Lobengula-West resident, Reason Dube, attributed the rise in crime to a lack of services for young people in the area.
Chairman of Progressive United Residents Association, Reason Ngwenya, said that the commercialisation of recreational centres had damaged societies.
“We blame our leadership for not working on developing communities. We consulted them about this, but nothing was done. There used to be a club where women could exchange skills and be empowered, but all that is gone,” said Ngwenya.
He added that Councillors, Members of Parliament and the Mayor should find ways to empower society rather than making money out of community centres.
“Today’s leaders do not put the people’s interests first,” he said.
Youths interviewed said that in the absence of recreational centres, some of them were left with little option but to turn to crime in order to pay their fees for private colleges.
“There are many unwanted pregnancies and young men are getting involved in criminal squads because recreational centres are being rented out by organisations and rich families,” said one local youth.
Efforts to get response on the issue from City Councilor Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu, were unsuccessful.Post published in: News