As South Africa gears up for the festive period, the City of Johannesburg has initiated its comprehensive “Safer Festive Season” campaign. Aimed at curbing crime and bolstering safety measures in the country’s economic heartland, this initiative encompasses various departments to ensure a secure environment during the holiday season.
The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), along with Emergency Management Services (EMS), Licencing, and Disaster Management, are collaborating on this campaign. It’s designed to focus on several crucial aspects, including by-law enforcement, fire safety, managing fireworks displays, preventing drowning incidents, addressing flash floods, combating fraud and corruption, overseeing event management, and ensuring compliance with incident and disaster management protocols.
Mgcini Tshwaku, the MMC for Public Safety, emphasized the need for heightened vigilance, stating, “As we approach the holiday period, the Public Safety Department will be on high alert, implementing additional measures to strengthen road policing, emergency response, and crime prevention. Criminal activity tends to rise when communities relax, leaving residents more vulnerable.”
Tshwaku further outlined plans to dispatch a Tactical Response Unit to crime hotspots while instituting roadblocks across the metro.
The campaign’s primary focus areas include crime prevention, reducing road fatalities, combating drunk driving, assessing vehicle and driver fitness, ensuring public transport compliance, and promoting pedestrian safety awareness.
Notorious for a surge in road accidents during this season, South African roads witness a spike in fatalities. Tshwaku highlighted the prevalence of risky driving behaviors, particularly driving under the influence, on Johannesburg roads during this period.
The City of Johannesburg isn’t the only municipality beefing up its festive security measures. The City of Cape Town, in parallel, is deploying its most extensive festive tourism safety operation, featuring a dedicated Tourism Unit.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the deployment of police reservists to aid in ensuring safety during the festive season. “We issue a stern warning to criminals and those planning unlawful activities,” Cele emphasized. “Law enforcement will vigorously combat criminal behavior without prejudice or leniency.”
“The police force will not engage in negotiations with criminals,” he added firmly.
The concerted efforts of law enforcement across Johannesburg and other South African cities aim to ensure a secure and incident-free festive season. With increased police presence, strategic deployments, and a commitment to strict law enforcement, these measures seek to protect residents and visitors alike, sending a clear message of zero tolerance towards criminal activities during this celebratory time.