As Police Minister Bheki Cele was busy releasing crime statistics to the nation yesterday, the Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng Premier candidate, Solly Msimanga, was busy listening to stories from the victims relating how crime has impacted on their lives.
After he listened to the people of Ivory Park, north east of Johannesburg, relating their stories of life in the hands of criminals, Msimanga, who is mayor of Tshwane, came to understand that Gauteng has become a haven for criminals.
“The brutal reality of the impact of the crime on communities became glaringly obvious during my Listening Tour in Ivory Park, Johannesburg,” Msimanga said.
According to these latest statistics, Ivory Park is amongst the top 30 areas in terms of number of murders, countrywide.
Msimanga is on a listening campaign as part of his effort to become the premier of Gauteng after the 2019 elections. He was recently announced by his party as its candidate in the province.
He said residents, including the elderly, indicated to him that they lived in fear of crime, particularly being attacked and robbed in their own homes.
“Murder and rape is rife, yet residents have lost confidence in the police. They claim that they report these crime incidents but the police are apathetic, and are not doing enough to keep the people of this area, especially the women and children, safe,” Msimanga said.
Msimanga, who earlier visited and spoke to taxi operators at Noord Street taxi rank in the Johannesburg CBD, said the situation highlighted the fact that the police had lost control of the crime situation in Ivory Park.
“The SAPS are under-resourced, under-trained, under-equipped and under-staffed, which means they are losing the battle to keep South Africans safe,” he said.
Ivory Park is one of the Gauteng townships that had been hit by the scourge of substance abuse including the rife use of Nyaope among the youth. This one of the sad facts that many parents told Msimanga about during his visit.
“I believe that the youth are resorting to crime and drugs because of the cycle of frustration created by the lack of access to jobs. It pained me to see the youth idling the day away, with no immediate hope of employment, or a better life,” said Msimanga.
He heard about high unemployment that people complained about, something that the Tshwane mayor attributed to the government’s failure to create the employment opportunities it had promised to the people.
“We call on the failed ANC-led Gauteng government to prioritize youth employment creation through investing in projects that can create sustainable jobs. We need to focus on ensuring that business support mechanisms are accessible to people, particularly the youth, and cut red tape where possible,” he said.
As a solution, he suggested that the government must provide funding to create a professional and effective police service.
“However, the ANC has chosen to allocate billions to protect VIPs rather than increase spending to keep ordinary South Africans safe. The ANC has picked which people they prioritise, so it is up to South Africans to choose a party which puts their safety and that of their families first,” Msimanga said.
“Come 2019, vote DA because we are the only party that is able to make our Gauteng police service an honest, professional organization and prioritise job creation for all the youth of this province,” he said.
He vowed that the DA would fight corruption and crime.
“This election is about bringing change and fighting corruption,” Msimanga said.