Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba has spoken out strongly against the high levels of crime in the city and urged communities to stand up and fight the scourge.
Mayor Mashaba said he was “shocked and appalled” by the rape of a Soweto woman in front of her 10-year-old son after she boarded a taxi on Ontdekkers Road in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg.
Speaking at the launch of the City’s Traffic Hotline at the Johannesburg Metro Police Department headquarters recently, Cllr Mashaba said an open dialogue was needed and necessary on crime and how it could be tackled.
“I think we need an indaba as a country – including local, provincial and national government – to look at how we can assist men and women in uniform to be able to do their jobs because we can’t allow the breakdown of the rule of law,” Mashaba said
He said he was saddened by Sunday’s rape incident, which has drawn widespread condemnation. Mashaba said as a concerned citizen he was continuously asking himself whether there was still law and order in the country. He said unemployment was but one of the drivers that led to people engaging in crime.
“Families are breaking up. Fifteen-year-olds have never seen any of their parents waking up to go to work,” he said.
He asked whether there were consequences for engaging in crime in South Africa. “As the City of Johannesburg, our metro police can arrest [criminals] but we don’t have prosecutorial authority. We don’t have courts and we don’t have prisons. We rely on the national government to provide such services,” Mashaba said.
He said his administration would do everything possible to bring about law and order in Johannesburg.
“The only way we can address the high levels of crime in our country is to be serious about economic growth. We need to have an economy that can employ our people and give them dignity. When people are unemployed their only solace becomes alcohol and drug abuse. They have nothing to lose,” he said.