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Mayor warns motorists

 Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers will be out in full force over the Easter weekend in a bid to put the skids on fatalities and injuries on the city’s roads.

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Cllr Michael Sun officially launched the Easter Road Safety Awareness Campaign in Johannesburg recently.

Easter is a critical period that presents many safety challenges for law enforcement agencies. This time last year, 12 000 accidents and 112 fatalities were recorded in Johannesburg alone.

MMC Sun said the City was determined to drastically reduce these figures. “One life lost is one life too many. Schools are closed and many Joburgers will be travelling to various destinations across the country. We’re ready to do whatever is necessary to ensure there are fewer fatalities on the road.”

He said issues that contributed to the high accident rate included bad driving and unroadworthy vehicles. He said JMPD officers would heighten high visibility during this period to ensure that motorists and pedestrians were safe.

“It’s important that the general public and motorists obey the rules of the road at all times. Speeding is just not acceptable, especially in wet conditions, and so is driving without wearing a safety belt,” said Sun.

Speaking to JMPD officers, Mayor Mashaba said one of the City’s priorities was to ensure officers were properly equipped to do their work to the best of their ability.

“We’re serious about this. It’s not something we just talk about. We need to ensure that our society is protected. We don’t just say it. We’re investing heavily in ensuring that our law enforcement officers are properly equipped.”

He said JMPD had the responsibility to protect residents. “You’re the men and women who serve our city and country. You work under difficult circumstances. Criminals have no respect for the laws of our country. As a result, they end up putting the lives of our officers in danger,” said Mashaba.

He said the work that officers put in was not in vain and urged them to continue to serve residents with pride.

“Public safety is a priority. That’s why the City is going to be bringing in additional officers,” he said.

The Mayor urged JMPD officers to go out into the streets, be vigilant, look out for one another, ensure residents abided by the rules of the road and make them understand that roadblocks were for their benefit.

“Let’s make sure that our roadblocks are strategic and not cause traffic congestion,” he said.

 

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Avoid online travel scams ahead of Easter

 

Consumers who are travelling or have not yet finalised their arrangements for the upcoming Easter holidays should be wary of fraudsters who target people who are desperate to secure travel and accommodation at the last minute. 

 Sahil Mungar, FNB Digital Banking says, “If you have or haven’t yet booked your travel and accommodation, not only are you likely to pay a premium, but you could also fall victim to some online scams.”

 “Fraudsters exploit potential holiday makers by falsely advertising holiday accommodation or timeshares on the internet and social media. Consumers are then deceived to pay upfront in order to secure their bookings. This further gives scammers an opportunity to request ID copies and bank details of their victims, which are then used for identity theft,” adds Mungar.

 When consumers become desperate to secure holiday travel and accommodation, they can easily overlook scams due to the pressure, only to find out that they’ve been defrauded when they get to the venue.

 Mungar advises consumers to be extra cautious when booking accommodation online ahead of the Easter holidays.

 • Always try and book accommodation three months in advance or longer to avoid disappointments. This will help you to qualify for discounts and gives you enough time to do the necessary background and security checks. 

• Use search engines like Google. If you’re worried about a property or suspect that the photographs are fake, simply look it up yourself online.  Look for reviews from other travelers and Google Maps to ensure that the place exists.

• Use websites like tripadvisor.com, booking.com and similar websites to check reviews and to book accommodation securely. Generally these websites guarantee the booking.

• Call directly to publically advertised phone numbers to confirm the booking availability. Even if you get called, rather hang up and call back on the official number.

• Avoid depositing or transferring money to an individual’s bank account or sending your personal details to their private email address. Rather pay online on the accommodation’s actual website or in person at the venue.

• Lookout for suspicious behavior. Take notice of bad grammar in emails, foreign phone numbers, or if the owner or property manager is not responding to emails. These can all be warning signs.

• If you have friends and family that stay close to the place, ask them to go and verify if it is legitimate.

 

“To avoid scams, consider checking out properties from reputable travel websites and agents in advance and never respond to online and social media adverts without verifying that the sources are legitimate,” concludes Mungar. 

 

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Jozi residents welcome clinics’ extended hours

More Johannesburg residents now have increased access to quality primary healthcare services after Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba introduced extended operating hours at five more public clinics across the city on Monday April 3.

The move follows a highly successful pilot project launched by Mayor Mashaba at Princess Crossing Clinic in Roodepoort, Region C, in October last year.

Addressing more than 300 residents at Freedom Park Clinic in Region G, Cllr Mashaba said the extended operating hours were aimed at improving access to quality healthcare in communities. He said the initiative formed part of his executive’s 10-point plan which, among other things, prioritises running a pro-poor government.

The Mayor was accompanied to the launch by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse, Executive Director of Health Dr Refik Basmilla, Executive Director of Social Development Wandile Zwane, Cllr Mangaliso Ngwenya, Section 79 Committee Chairperson Cllr Ingrid Reinten and Deputy Regional Director Hlubi Ntamehlo.

“It’s a great honour and pleasure for me to launch the extended operating hours for Freedom Park Clinic, an undertaking I believe is bound to make a significant improvement to the provision of quality healthcare services in this community,” said Mayor Mashaba.

Freedom Park Clinic, which also services Naturena and other surrounding areas, had until March 31 treated between 250 and 300 patients daily from 7am to 4pm. It will now open from 7am to 10pm on weekdays and from 7.30am to 1.30pm over weekends and public holidays.

Four other clinics – Hikhensile in Region A, Randburg (Region B), Zandspruit (Region C) and Albert Street (Region F) – will also open for longer hours:  until 7pm on weekdays.

“This administration is committed to bringing about the change our residents demanded when they elected us. Healthy people are a prerequisite for the economic success of Johannesburg. As I always say, a healthy city is a working city,” the Mayor said.

He said between November 2016 and February 2017 more than 10 790 patients visited the Princess Crossing Clinic. Of these, almost 3 000 visited it after normal operating hours.

“One of the substantial advantages of this strategy is that everyone can get the care they need exactly when they need it. It is also a perfect solution for those who need a routine check-up or want assistance with managing chronic conditions without having to take a day off work or school,” he said.

Additional staff members have been employed. These include four nurses, a social worker, two drivers, two administrators, a health promoter and a general worker.

“We need to put healthcare back into the hands of professionals and out of the often harmful influence of politicians. One does not have to look further than the Life Esidimeni tragedy to see the importance of this.”

The social worker’s focus at the clinic will be on community development and community mobilisation with emphasis on providing psychosocial support, skills development, food security, early childhood development, youth development programmes and drug abuse prevention.

“Our clinics must be transformed from being mere health care facilities to being multi-functional centres,” said the Mayor

MMC Phalatse said the extended operating hours addressed one of the most basic human rights as enshrined in section 27 of the Constitution – access to healthcare. She said with the employment of a fulltime social worker, her department would create social and physical environments promoting good health for all.

“Our work has an integrated and holistic focus on the wellbeing of communities, ensuring preventative as well as curative health services across all age groups,” Cllr Phalatse said.

Resident Ella Baloyi appealed to locals to protect the clinic and its staff. “Let’s keep an eye on the criminal elements so we can keep the nurses safe,” Baloyi said.

 

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