Stepping up his war against crime and vices in the city of Johannesburg, Mayor Herman Mashaba led his special task team into one of the city’s crime hot spot- Rosettenville house.
The special task team made up of about 60 metro police and SAPS officers joined the mayor to raid most crime areas and regular basis houses and the mayor says it will be the first of many.
The first of its kind took place in Rosettenville, South of Johannesburg, and the team targeted 40 houses suspected of operating as brothels, drug dens and shelter for illegal immigrants.
Residents in Rosettenville set fire to belongings of alleged drug dealers and brothel owners as the special task team took turns unraveling most hideouts for criminals in the area.
“If we can achieve sending a signal to the criminal elements that have been terrorizing our communities the last few years,” said Mashaba.
“If we can send a signal to them that us as government has taken the responsibility to protect our residents. It’s a campaign going after any criminality anywhere in our city. It’s not only the people of Rosettenville going through this nightmare.”
This is in line with the mayor’s decision to make the city of gold free of crime as was promised during his mayoral inauguration, last year.
The mayor had, in one of his press briefings, blamed crime increase in the city on illegal immigrants who he claimed are used to not respecting the law.
Though the mayor came under strong attack following his plans to get rid of illegal immigrants, the mayor took his stand on the matter, saying it was one of the best ways to smoke out crime in the city.
“I stand by what I said that people who are in our city illegally – whether you are South African or you’re someone from outside – please, when you’re in our city, please respect our laws because if not, then we’re going to have a challenge,” Mashaba had said.
During his first 100 days in office, the mayor blamed the government for crime in Johannesburg, saying that they had been ineffective in implementing law and order. The mayor has not yet produced evidence or data that supports his claim of foreign nationals being linked to criminal activity.
Not deterred by rising criticisms, the mayor pushed on with his war on criminals as police groups raided over 40 houses in search of drugs, illegal occupation and any sign of prostitution.
Meanwhile, residents who joined the police in the clean-up exercise, blamed foreign nationals for the surge in criminal activity in the area and accused the police of not taking their complaints serious until now.
“We marched outside that house we tried to stop it. [Policemen] were called time after time, after time, to find out where are the building plans for that house,” said one resident.
“We begged the people to stop the building there – nobody listened to us. They turned around this is red zone district…you do not need building plans. Yet I have to get building plans?!” One of the residents reported.
This raid took place after the mayor closed down ANC’s [email protected] Programme claiming it enriches only a few ANC members
Explaining why he canceled the city’s R1 billion co-production, [email protected] Programme, which was inaugurated by the past ANC administration in the municipality, the mayor said the programme was littered with patronage and that it’s in line with his plan to turn the economy of our City around.
“It’s only the beginning,” the mayor said as he pinpointed more areas in the city that need total touch.