Entries open for Walk the Talk 2017

Entries open for Walk the Talk 2017

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Mayor: It’s time we rid city of building hijackers

Speaking on the second day of the breakaway session of the City’s Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) in Centurion, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba (pictured) said he needed urgent action and results in relation to the fight against building hijackings in the Johannesburg inner city and surrounding areas.
Mayor Mashaba’s call comes after seven people were killed when Cape York (Insert), a dilapidated hijacked building at the corner of Jeppe and Nugget streets in the inner city, caught alight on Wednesday July 5.

The Mayor instructed members of the unit, led by General Shadrack Sibiya, to increase the frequency of raids on hijacked buildings, where people live in inhumane conditions. “We should raid these buildings every week and make sure we safeguard the lives of our people. It is important to act with speed. I want results and your unit should help me root out corruption,” the Mayor told members of the unit. He said the City faced a housing backlog estimated at more than 300 000 units. He said with the City providing housing at an average rate of only 3 500 units a year, there were limited opportunities to move people out of these buildings.

Speaking on the sidelines of the breakaway session earlier, General Sibiya said his unit had identified and verified 85 problematic buildings in the city. He said more raids would be conducted in the coming weeks to rid the city of the criminals who had taken over the buildings. He said his corruption-busting unit, which has also been charged with the tackling of bad buildings, was already hard at work to dismantle criminal syndicates behind the building hijackings. He said the unit had so far uncovered a highly connected and sophisticated syndicate of criminals who had “compromised state departments to further their objectives”.

“We are dealing with a corrupt network that involves people in the Deeds Office, the Department of Home Affairs, etc.
The network involves even our own officials, who illegally issue clearance certificates to members if the syndicates. We will work tirelessly to break this network and regain control of the city and its buildings,” said Sibiya.
Mayor Mashaba is in the coming weeks expected to announce further plans to deal with abandoned and hijacked buildings.















Entries open for Walk the Talk 2017

The countdown to Johannesburg’s biggest and most popular walking event – the MTN Walk the Talk with 702 – has begun.
More than 50 000 people – from fitness fanatics to celebrities, and from seasoned athletes to politicians from all corners of the country – will throng into Marks Park Sports Club in Emmarentia on Sunday July 23 for the 16th edition of the event, hosted by the City of Johannesburg.

Three different walking categories with staggered starting times are on offer. The 15km category starts at 7am, followed by the 8km walk at 9am and the 5km race at 11am.
The event does not only promote a healthy lifestyle among residents, but it also helps to showcase some of the City’s infrastructure development projects, sweeping scenic views and landmarks. It will also demonstrate Johannesburg’s ability to stage events of this scale and magnitude.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Cllr Nonhlanhla Sifumba will be among high-profile personalities taking part in the event and walking for a variety of causes.

MMC Sifumba will participate in the 8km category to highlight the work of Let’s Talk Jozi, a community-based initiative aimed at tackling violence against women and children as well as drug and substance abuse.
“It is very important for the City of Johannesburg to be part of such an initiative because it helps to ensure that both the City and residents are at the same level in fighting the social ills engulfing our communities,” says Cllr Sifumba.
She says the City and its residents can work together in identifying and finding lasting solutions to the scourge of violence and drug abuse.

Sifumba says the event promotes thought-provoking conversations and helps empower citizens through constructive discussions and knowledge and learning from others.
In preparation for the event, Cllr Sifumba has of late been taking short walks and using staircases instead of lifts or escalators. “I would like to wish everyone who is taking part in the event all the best. Let’s forge partnerships and work together in finding lasting solutions to the challenges our communities are faced with. Let’s be open about these issues, let’s talk Jozi,” she says.
Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar says to ensure the safety of all walkers, residents and motorists, a number of roads will be closed to traffic.
“JMPD officers will man temporary road closures along the route. We ask residents to familiarise themselves with alternative routes and be patient during the duration of the event,” says Minnaar.
Entries for the MTN Walk the Talk with 702 are officially closed.





Joburg targeted by scamsters

Top private forensic investigator Paul O’Sullivan has urged officials of the City of Joburg’s Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) unit to be always on the lookout for “high-profile” scams targeting the City and its entities.
O’Sullivan was one of the experts and top government officials who recently addressed the first day of the unit’s three-day breakaway strategic session being held in Centurion to look into how best to fight corruption using innovative and cost-effective methods.
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba has declared corruption public enemy No 1.
The breakaway session, which ended on Friday July 7, was also looking at how the unit, headed by General Shadrack Sibiya, former Gauteng head of crime-busting unit the Hawks, could improve its work and sharpen its programmes in its mission to fight corruption within the City.
O’Sullivan said if city investigators were not adequately empowered to detect crime, the fight against organised crime would be “fruitless”. He said with the City’s budget running into several billions of rands, there would always be attempts by criminals to scam it.
“Corruption is everywhere. It is, therefore, important to understand the trends of crime so as to be in a position to decisively and adequately deal with it,” said O’Sullivan.
He added that it was important for the City to employ “the right people”, especially in high-risk units, and have systems in place to protect the integrity of the City’s systems.
Also speaking at the session was Vunatha Murugan, Director in the Office of Gauteng Premier David Makhura responsible for the Integrity Unit. Murugan said the provincial government was working closely with various government structures, including the City of Johannesburg, to fight crime.
She said it was critical to have open communication lines between all spheres of government and share best practices in dealing with crime and corruption. National Prosecuting Authority Senior Advocate Gideon Nkoana told delegates that his unit was always available to work with the GFIS in the fight against organised crime and corruption.


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