BNC#6: Ian Cameron – Hope, service, action: A blueprint for crime prevention, community empowerment

In his keynote address at BNC#6 in Hermanus, crime-fighter and DA MP candidate Ian Cameron emphasised the importance of choosing hope over hopelessness and service over self-interest in tackling crime. Urging action, he highlighted civil society’s role and shared the inspiring story of Liezel de Jager, who exemplified hope and service. Cameron outlined practical steps, including defining purpose, setting goals, and fostering accountability. He stressed simplicity, preparation, and personal accountability, quoting Theodore Roosevelt to underscore the significance of active engagement in societal issues.

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Edited transcript of Ian Camerons keynote address at the BizNews conference BNC#6 in Hermanus ___STEADY_PAYWALL___

00:07 Thank you for the welcome. Alec and I had a long discussion about today because last time I ran out of time, and I think everyone felt quite depressed afterwards. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news the whole time. Today I’m gonna say things that I believe are important.

00:37 The big question, and I hear it from the majority of speakers, is how do we make an impact? What are the different ways and formulas to make an impact? There are specific basic building blocks that we can use. Each of us can play a role. But I want to set the table first. Most of you would have seen the poster in the back, Man in the Arena.

01:06 I’m gonna read it afterwards. But just to set the context, we need to understand where we are regarding the whole crime issue. This morning I got a call from cops, specifically in the Cape Flats. Just last night, 11 people were shot and killed in gang violence. Last week, 61. The week before, 62. 123 people in 14 days. That’s a war zone. We really need to change this. It’s not just a political or civil society answer. There are specific things we need to do.

01:35 I’ve got two questions, rhetorical ones. The first one is, are you on the side of hope or hopelessness? It’s an intentional decision. We need to pre-decide to be intentional about having hope. The second question is, are you there to serve or to be served? If each of us can say that I am second, I’m willing to serve, and I’m on the side of hope, then I think your building block is correct.

02:08 So no matter how you take it on, on a local level, it’s with taking part in neighbourhood watch patrols. It’s a basic thing, but when it gets really bad in that community, then everyone’s up in arms, including yourself. The first two things, am I on the side of hope or hopelessness? Are you there to serve or to be served?

02:37 The crucial part is that it forces us when we say I’m here to serve, it forces us to take ownership of the problem. I often hear a blame game being played. But all of the initiatives wouldn’t have come as far as they have if it wasn’t for civil society stepping forward.

04:02 A vote for them is a vote for crime. But we’re stuck with them for the moment and we need to do something in the meantime. All of the initiatives we’ve heard about wouldn’t have come as far as they have if it wasn’t for civil society stepping forward.

05:59 The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion in the world to help others. It comes back to the building block of saying I am second and I am on the side of hope or hopelessness.

06:28 There’s a story of a lady called Liezel de Jager. There are two things that stood out. She gave people hope, and she served other people. We have a choice. We can remember Liezel, she was great, but we all move on, or we can make Liezel’s legacy live on.

07:53 The first thing I always advise is to determine your purpose. What is your purpose? Then you need to determine your goals. What are the goals that you can use to measure whether your mission statement was successful? Determine your purpose, and then your goals.

08:53 Agree on terms of accountability. Create a culture of accountability, follow-up, and feedback. Keep it simple. Determine your purpose, your goals, and what is the one thing that you want to achieve.

10:45 Everyone is accountable all the time. What am I gonna do about it? What are you gonna do about it? Where is that ownership?

11:41 The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, and who strives valiantly, and who spends himself on a worthy cause. Thank you very much.

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*The above transcript has been condensed and paraphrased for brevity and clarity, and may not capture the full context or nuances of the original speech delivered by Ian Cameron at the Biznews conference, BNC#6.