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WATCH: Under siege: How criminals have turned Joburg CBD into a no-go zone

Published Aug 5, 2022


Durban - Crime in the Johannesburg central business district has only gotten worse over the years, but in recent times, parts of the city have become a no-go-zone for most residents and motorists.

Nugget Street and the MTN taxi rank, both sections that form part of the Hillbrow area, including the roads surrounding them, have turned into criminal dens that feed on innocent people passing through either to work or their businesses.

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Business robberies, traffic light robberies and muggings in the Johannesburg CBD have become somewhat of a norm, with new videos popping up on the internet almost every week, showing citizens at the mercy of criminals.

When it comes to law enforcement, however, there is no area that is considered a “no-go”, according to Xolani Fihla, spokesperson for Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

Fihla said that police had identified areas that are hotspots for high criminal activities.

“To respond to this problem, earlier this year, 1 800 officers were deployed into the inner city to conduct Buya Mthetho High Visibility Block Patrols. This has increased visible policing in the inner city, and this has bolstered efforts in fighting crime, especially common, armed and business robbery.

“Officers have also uncovered and arrested suspects related to human trafficking,” Fihla said.

He said JMPD had established an undercover unit attached to the Integrated Intelligence Operations Centre (IIOC), which acts as a surveillance “nerve” centre.

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This has helped JMPD react faster to crimes that are spotted on cameras, Fihla said.

But citizens aren’t the only ones who are finding it hard to deal with the scathing level of crime in the CBD. Last month, a JMPD officer was shot dead by suspects during an alleged robbery.

Officer Vongani Desmond Hlungwane was shot in the head, abdomen and leg, according to JMPD’s Wayne Minnaar. He was 36-years-old.

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Fihla said that an inquest docket for murder was opened at the Hillbrow SAPS for investigation and that JMPD will assist them in whatever way they can to find the suspects.

Security officers have also come under gunfire at the hands of criminals who seek to disarm them of their weapons and are, unfortunately, often successful.

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Crime statistics published by the SAPS for the fourth quarter of 2021/2022 show that the Johannesburg central police station recorded 247 common robbery cases from January to March 2022.

Pretoria Central and Brooklyn police station in Gauteng record 135 cases of robbery each. Hillbrow recorded 106 cases for the same period.

Johannesburg Central station recorded the most number of cases for robbery with aggravating circumstances for the period, with 317 cases.

For car-jackings, Gauteng had seven police stations in the top ten list for the most number of car-jackings recorded.

Gauteng had 16 police stations in the top 20 for the most number of car-jackings recorded.

Johannesburg Central police station also recorded the most number of robberies at non-residential premises, with 61 cases documented during the same period.