By Geoffrey Makhubo
If there is one thing that is common among the people of Joburg, regardless of their race, class and religious beliefs, it is the constant sense there is increasing lawlessness across the city.
The crimes range from serious ones such as murder, rape and hijacking to relatively minor ones such as petty theft, public drinking and other violations of the by-laws.
Regardless of whether one sees a crime as major or minor, the victims want and deserve justice. The people of the city need to feel secure in their homes and when out on the streets.
A major part of winning the war against lawlessness and the rampant violation of the by-laws is to have solutions that are tailor-made for specific areas and involve all affected by the issues raised.
One such plan is the Johannesburg 10 Plus programme – a ward-based policing and law enforcement programme deploying 10 officers in each of the 135 wards and responding to the specific challenges in each ward.
This means that 1 350 officers would need to be deployed across all the wards and in all seven regions, from Midrand, northern Gauteng, all the way to Orange Farm in the south.
It is part of the key pillars of the Government of Local Unity (GLU) to create a safer city. Let me be the first to acknowledge that the city’s 10 Plus programme has had successes and failures since its launch in 2012.
Now that the city boasts an extra 1 000 newly graduated metro police officers and the GLU took over the running of the city in December 2019, funds have been ring-fenced to support adequate resources.
The future of the 10 Plus programme, which has had an eight-year stop-start engagement, looks brighter than ever before.The 10 Plus programme strives to bring service delivery closer to the people and set up a quicker response time to complaints from residents and other stakeholders.
The programme includes various city departments and entities such as the Joburg metro police department, City Parks, Pikitup, City Power and the Johannesburg Roads Agency.
The dedicated officers would have to compile statistics on crime hot spots and fatal accident hot spots, and collate the number of taverns, schools, stations, open spaces and public facilities in their respective wards.
With the increased deployment of officers, we hope to work closely with the SAPS to prevent the abuse of women and children and, where crimes have occurred, work speedily to bring perpetrators to justice.
The city has also renegotiated with OUTsurance for the reinstatement of points people to manage traffic congestion. The recalled points people will come in handy, especially when Eskom load sheds power.
We have also strengthened our technological capacity to extend the eyes and ears of law enforcement authorities in the city, through CCTV smart poles. The city is using technology to monitor what is happening on our streets and respond quicker than before to incidents.
The war against lawlessness and by-law violations cannot be won by local government authorities alone.
We need to enlist the help of communities and other key stakeholders.
For the Joburg Plus 10 to been seen and felt to be working, all stakeholders of the city of Joburg should form a pact with authorities to reclaim their streets and regain their peace.
Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo is the leader of the Government of Local Unity and the executive mayor of the City of Joburg.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of The Star or Independent Media.