The Pretoria CBD is on the rise again, thanks to the administration’s efforts to root out crime and corruption, mayor Solly Msimanga has declared. File picture: Jacques Naude/ANA Pictures
Pretoria – The Pretoria CBD is on the rise again, thanks to the city administration’s efforts to root out crime and corruption, executive mayor Solly Msimanga declared at the weekend.

The metro was doing all it could to revitalise the heart of the capital, but it had to join hands with communities and civil society to make a difference.

Msimanga was addressing the Safety Summit convened by AfriForum at the Heartfelt Arena in Valhalla. It was held in the hope that ideas could be shared on how to combat crime not only in the capital, but across the country.

Msimanga told delegates that soon after taking over the highest office in the city, he was presented with a fleet of BMWs meant for him and his team.

But instead he gave the luxury cars to the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) to patrol the streets and chase after criminals.

The new specialised drug unit, which saw TMPD officers being sent for FBI training to learn how to fight drug dealing was already bearing fruit.

The team had already seized R2 million worth of drugs. It had also found three drug labs since it was set up a few weeks ago.

“Many people know about Brown Street in the CBD, once known as a stay-away zone. Go and look at Brown Street now. It is clean; it is open.”

Msimanga said the city was working on cleaning up Marabastad and urged investors to once again consider the CBD for investments.

“It is a passion of mine to make sure we have a capital city that works. It is important for us to work together."

Since his election as mayor, Msimanga said, he had been doing all he could to stop corruption and crime in the capital. 

“One of the first meetings I had as mayor was with the now gone TMPD chief (Steven Ngobeni)." 

“I asked what the TMPD’s strategy was and was told traffic, by-law enforcement and crime prevention. I said that is not correct. It should be the other way around.”

City-based social activist Yusuf Abramjee, who was among the speakers, challenged South Africans to take the government to the Constitutional Court for failing to protect citizens.

“Is our government keeping to the constitution?” Abramjee asked, to which the audience replied “no”.

“Why don’t we take them to the Constitutional Court and ask them why they are not protecting us? Is there a constitutional mandate to hold the government to account?”

Abramjee branded the crime situation in South Africa a national crisis. “We are tired of the blood, bullets and bodies in this country once called the rainbow nation."

Abramjee recounted an invasion by criminals in his home in 2013 and said the suspects were still on trial four years on which, he said, indicated how the justice system was letting South Africans down.

He was planning to organise a march to the Union Buildings by people of all races to show government how serious the crime situation was and that South Africans “are sick and tired of crime. There is too much bloodshed”.

He criticised the SANDF for hosting air shows and flying at the Rand Show, while failing to fight crime.

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, speaking of the impact of crime in rural communities, accused President Jacob Zuma of segregating the country.

“A president that does not respect our constitutional law should not be there. He is not an example of morality. We cannot tell our children not to steal.”

Lekota said most South Africans were Christians, and God said in the Bible people should not steal. “Why do we vote for thieves every day?” he asked, adding that the main cause of crime in the country were the people who voted for Zuma.

Pretoria News