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In the wake of improved crime statistics for 2010/2011, Steuart Pennington - CEO of website South Africa the Good News - suggested that we, the citizens of South Africa, pledge to help accelerate the creation of peace and safety in our country. The idea received widespread public approval. It would appear that people are eager to play a role.

Justin FoxtonIn the wake of improved crime statistics for 2010/2011, Steuart Pennington - CEO of website South Africa the Good News - suggested that we, the citizens of South Africa, pledge to help accelerate the creation of peace and safety in our country. The idea received widespread public approval. It would appear that people are eager to play a role.

I contacted Steuart and suggested that we do it. We got input from various quarters, batted a few practical ideas back and forth and ignored the naysayers who prefer to wait for government to take the lead before they will do anything. We agreed on two main points of direction:

First up, this is not a single pledge that you have to sign, chant, recite or place your bloodied hand print onto. The idea is that you create your own pledge; a list of things you are willing to do to contribute to the betterment of our nation.

Secondly, we decided that it shouldn’t be called a pledge at all. This is because when people think of the word ‘pledge’ they think immediately of either furniture polish or mindless chants recited by brainwashed minions. We thought we would dump the word pledge and rather use the word "ledge". A ledge is something that supports an action – like climbing or displaying something of worth. (But hey, maybe you don’t want to call it a ledge. Maybe you want your ledge to be called a daisy. In fact we don’t really care what you call it. It’s just an action list of things you can do to help create a better South Africa for all.)

So here’s how it works: Get together as a family, a group of mates, a class, a company, a neighourhood watch, Community Police Forum, book club, running club, drinking club (but don’t drive afterwards – get a taxi), or simply pour yourself a nice coffee and do it on your own. Spend a few minutes having a conversation and listing the things you are able and willing to do. After you have drawn up your list, put names against each action (this will just be yours if you are flying solo with this).

To help get you started, here’s Steuart’s ledge. You may want to steal some of his ideas (in this instance it’s ok to steal). However, the idea is to put things on your ledge that you feel are important in your home, community or place of work and that you are prepared to commit to doing.

1. I will abide by the law and will encourage others to do the same
2. I will support my local CPF and get to know my local police
3. I will report all criminal activity of which I am aware, regardless of my relationship to the criminal
4. I will pick up litter and encourage others to recycle theirs
5. I will not partake in bribery of any description
6. I will not buy stolen goods
7. I will not drink and drive, nor take or deal in illegal drugs
8. I will, as a driver, observe the rules of the road and be courteous at all times
9. I will respect the property of others, even if I am participating in a public protest
10. I will respect my family and the rights of children, the disabled and the aged
11. I will promote my country always, making it my duty to know the truth of the good and the bad
12. I will live our Constitution which promotes freedom, peace, liberty and justice for all

Now, in truth, most of the things on Steuart’s ledge should be on all of our ledges. However, there are things that you can do, or may need to do, which aren’t on his list. For example, if you have a problem with graffiti in your area – and you feel you can play a role in this – ledge to remove graffiti from your neighbourhood. Perhaps you are good with your hands - you can ledge to fix broken things in your community. Put things on the list which bug you or things that can be rectified by using your skills and talents.

Once you have done your ledge please e-mail it through to us so that we can post it onto our facebook page and enter it into our "Best Ledge" competition. The winning ledge will receive a big prize which someone reading this is about to donate.

The most important thing about your ledge is that you assess it often. As an individual as a family or as a community group, get together and look at how you are doing.

For more information or to submit your ledge e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the LedgeSA facebook page.

This article first appeared in the Mercury. 

Justin Foxton is founder of national awareness campaign "Stop Crime Say Hello".