South Africa has seen a 75% drop in violent crime during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, rival gang members in Cape Town are teaming up to collect and distribute food and essential goods to those in need.
“What we’re seeing happen here is literally a miracle,” Andie Steele-Smith, a pastor who works with gang members in the community, told BBC News.
Before the pandemic, South Africa had some of the highest violent crime rates on the continent. But now, new circumstances have created changes that are leading to a silver lining.
The government has imposed some of the toughest quarantine rules in the world, including banning alcohol and cigarette sales. The economy has taken a beating—and the gang members were feeling the effects as much as anybody else.
“I got a phone call from two gang leaders, both saying ‘Andie, I’ve never asked you for anything but we are starving’,” the Australian-born pastor told BBC News. “And I just thought if these guys are starving—they are at the top of the food-chain—the rest of the community is going to be in serious, serious strife.”