In an effort to heighten police visibility and to arrest the runaway crime on the streets of Pretoria, Mayor Solly Msimanga is introducing a bicycle unit in the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD).
On Tuesday, Msimanga told reporters that as part of the numerous changes he has brought to the TMPD after he recently took the reins as mayor of the capital city, the police would not only fight crime using luxurious vehicles.
“We will be launching that unit very soon. We are now finalising the branding of the bicycles and their uniform. We will have them patrolling our streets visibly. They will be going up and down, patrolling our streets,” Msimanga said at the launch of a cleanup campaign dubbed “Operation Tswelopele”.
The cleanup is aimed at the filthy and crime-infested Pretoria inner city and surrounding precincts.
“There are a lot of changes that have been made already in the metro police. There are a number of units we have now introduced. We now have a narcotics unit, we are training the anti-hijack unit right now.”
Msimanga said the TMPD was bedevilled by the lack of requisite equipment required for their work.
“We have more than enough metro police officers in our city. What we need to do is to coordinate their activities to ensure that we control crime in our city,” he said.
Msimanga launched the Operation Tswelopele in the Marabastad precinct, which is infamous for muggings and armed robberies.
The area is also a haven for illicit trade and usage of drugs, despite numerous TMPD and SA Police Service vehicles visible in the area.
Some traders in the area welcomed Msimanga’s intervention, hoping that business would soon return to the area.
“In this area, if you are not identified as the mayor as you walk around, you will surely get mugged by the nyaope addicts. This place has been turned upside down because of the drugs,” an elderly lady told Msimanga as he went on a walkabout in the Marabastad area.
The new mayor has also raised great concern with the state of accommodation apartments in and around Pretoria Central.
The buildings, which are in an abject state of disrepair, accommodate thousands of people who pay exorbitant monthly rentals to leasing agencies.