Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) have signed a partnership agreement to raise awareness about the consequences of the destruction of public property.

The department has called on members of the community to stop the vandalism and destruction so often seen across the country.

For the past six months, the department has run a successful campaign called IcareWeCare, aimed at stopping damage to public property.

The campaign was launched in July last year and has received widespread support, with more than 4.5million mentions and endorsements on social media alone.

The main aim of the campaign is to get people to engage with the concept of "people's property" and to essentially stop public properties like clinics and schools going up in smoke.

This comes after several public buildings were destroyed or vandalised during #FeesMustFall and schools being burnt down in Limpopo.

After the campaign gained traction on social media, the department decided to intensify and mobilise citizens and communities not to take out their frustrations by causing destruction to property.

On Tuesday, the department was boosted by a partnership agreement with the MRM to take the campaign forward.

MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo said the three-year partnership with the MRM would take the campaign to greater heights and intensify the outreach.

“We are extremely happy that the MRM will now help lead and be a face of the campaign,” said Mamabolo.

He said that with the huge support received on social media, the next phase of the campaign was to have direct interaction with the people by going into communities and "educating them".

“The next phase is about direct interaction with the people and going into communities and taking the pledge to protect property into the heart of communities, and enforcing the message that destroying public properties impoverishes communities,” said Mamabolo.

The MEC could not give an exact figure of how much the campaign had cost the government, but said they had not gone over R3 million.

“We will need to invest more in the campaign, another R2million to R3million. Social media has been our frontrunner in making everyone aware of the IcareWeCare campaign," he said.

Mamabolo said government bureaucracy should not interfere with how the country is run.

“We should not allow the artificial war that separates government from its people to affect this country. This country must run.”

Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa from the MRM said communities needed to go beyond simply protecting and defending public property.

“We should cherish and enhance the assets we have, as they are for the good of all. We will use our extensive reach to enter and dialogue with our people in communities, suburbs, townships and villages across Gauteng,” said Mkhatshwa.

@heidigokos

The Star