Speaker of Council, Clr Connie Bapela
Chief Whip of Council, Clr Prema Naidoo
The Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety
Members of the Mayoral Committee
The Chairpersons and Members of the Section 79 Portfolio Committee on Public Safety
City Manager – Trevor Fowler
Senior Officials from the South African Police Service
Representatives of CBO’s and NGO’s
Ladies and Gentleman
The City of Johannesburg is today providing details about a new approach of ward-based, visible law enforcement.
This programme is an underlying theme of Joburg 2040 (the city’s Growth and Development Strategy) adopted last year following a broad democratic and consultative process.
The following vision was distilled from this GDS process which concluded that Johannesburg is a World Class African City of the Future as:
· a vibrant, equitable African City, strengthened through its diversity;
· a city that provides real quality of life;
· a city that provides sustainability for all its citizens;
· a resilient and adaptive society”.
It follows the announcement during the State of the City Address (SOCA) in March when I indicated our broader strategy to ensure a liveable environment that provides real quality of life that supports resilient and safe communities.
This is a comprehensive plan to tackle crime and improve the safety and quality of life of its communities. It is a systematic multi-agency approach across all the 130 wards in the City of Johannesburg. Agencies across all spheres of government and the private sector as well as the community at large are involved.
These include environmental health inspectors, town planners, social workers, SA Police Services, Community Policing Forums, Street Patrollers, Neighbourhood Watches, Private Security sectors, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community-based Organisations (CBOs), Faith-based Groups, School Committees and Recreational Clubs, etc.
The plan aims to reduce the actual incidences of crime, improve by-law enforcement and traffic management and at the same time engage in proactive policing through improving community relations. This will be done through focused, information-driven and partnership-based approach. It is a move towards greater accountability, transparency and citizen participation.
Programme director, it is our firm intention to ensure that our residents live and work in a city with communities and residents from neighbourhoods where every man, woman and child can feel safe and secure.
We are cleaning up crime hotspots; taking action against lawbreakers and addressing petty crime and minor offences before they turn into major problems.
A study has shown that there is a clear link between service delivery breakdown and crime and grime. The programme seeks to address issues of basic service delivery while addressing issues of crime prevention, by-law enforcement and traffic management.
We are taking firm steps to clean the streets of Joburg. And we need a solid partnership with our communities to achieve success.
In this approach, Law Enforcement is inextricably linked to a range of other initiatives aimed at bylaw compliance, addressing social issues such as alcohol abuse and endemic poverty, environmental conservation and mobilising community support for these actions.
Here I can mention a few components of this multi-disciplinary team:
· Johannesburg Roads Agency ( Blocked storm water drainage, poor signage and road markings)
· PIKITUP (Illegal dumping and littering)
· Development Planning (Illegal constructions, illegal change of use, and disregard of zoning and development rights)
· Environmental Health (Noise pollution, food control, fire health and safety hazards and surveillance and prevention of communicable diseases)
As part of our commitment to make Johannesburg a safer city, especially for its most vulnerable residents such as women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities, a number of key priority areas were identified.
These are to:
· Build trust and active engagement by all as mechanisms through which community safety may be improved;
· Create sound spaces that promote community safety;
· Address alcohol use and abuse patterns by building a different society;
· Maintain a strong focus on the youth;
· Address the needs of the vulnerable sectors in society;
· Taking steps to mitigate areas of harm, such as: fires, floods, and environmental hazards.
I am happy to indicate that we have significant progress in profiling some of our wards and we will be working with community structures to identify hotspots.
The new integrated ward-based law enforcement approach has the following objectives:
ØImprove the efficiency and effectiveness of the law enforcement system as a deterrent to crime and grime;
ØImprove compliance with City’s by-laws and other legislation;
ØReduce the incidence of violent and economic crimes;
ØForge multi-disciplinary integration of policy development, planning, operations management and coherent action;
ØEnsure full coverage of the city’s geographical space through visibility, timely responses and decisiveness in order to reduce the fear of crime, thus encouraging residents and visitors to utilize public spaces and other amenities;
ØAddress persistent urban management challenges contributing to crime and grime;
ØImprove the effectiveness of the Municipal Courts in dealing with day to day bylaw infringements.
Critical to the success of this approach, will be our ability to mobilise community support and instill a sense of trust in the capabilities and integrity of our multi-facet enforcement agencies.
As said earlier, this needs multi-agency approach of our Metro Police and associated city structures. Our teams have emphasized that in their initial ongoing discussions with some of the parties, the best lesson for them was that commitment, clearly set goals, strong leadership, intense communication and clearly-defined channels, allocation of adequate and dedicated resources, gradual and systematic planning, will ensure the effective implementation of the plan.
Programme Director, significant work has been done in profiling some of our wards. Commencing immediately and over the next few weeks, we are assigning officials in all the wards.
The primary functions of the 1 300, ward-based officers will be:
· Ensuring by-law compliance and acting against issues such as illegal trading, dumping, unsightly graffiti, land invasion, vandalism of public infrastructure, illegal car washing, vagrancy and loitering;
· Acting against illegal land use, building and land invasion and hijacking of property;
· Traffic safety enforcement; traffic flow management; pedestrian safety; roadworthiness checks and the pro-active reporting of faulty or missing traffic signals;
· Illegal trading in liquor – which is often the root cause of further crimes – and the closing down of unlicensed outlets;
· Trading in stolen goods and counterfeit products;
· Environmental health and fire safety – including unannounced visits to taverns, spaza shops, night clubs and restaurants to deal with noise pollution, unhygienic conditions and fire hazards;
· Pro-active reporting of infrastructure breakdown and urban decay that contribute to crime and grime environment – such as broken traffic signals, overgrown grass; illegal dumping; missing manhole covers; blocked storm water outlets; water leaks; streets and parks that are not properly maintained.
Our expectations are that this new approach should not be confined to broad vision statements and little practical steps – but rather on precise and measurable outcomes – hence the gradual approach in the application of these ideas.
Visible-policing programmes in the wards will be complemented by a sizeable number of officers who include members of specialised units such as equestrian and canine units as well as units responsible for freeway patrolling etc. They among other things will check for overloaded vehicles and monitor the CCTV system.
To ensure accountability, the programme will be managed at both political level – through the Mayoral Committee, ward councilors and the Council’s cluster committees – as well as at the administrative level from the office of the Chief Operating Officer, regional directors and ward team leaders.
In conclusion, I would also like to state that over the next few weeks, in our commitment to root out corruption we will be unveiling further measures to counter corruption.