Operation Tswelopele takes on drugs and urban decay to reclaim our city

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This is the statement made by the Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, following an operation conducted in the Pretoria inner city today. Mayor Msimanga was joined by the all MMC’s and Heads of Department including Tshwane MMC for Community Safety, Alderman Derrick Kissoonduth, Tshwane MMC for Health, Sakkie du Plooy and Acting Police Chief, Jenny Malan. Please see attached pictures.

Today I led a multidisciplinary team on an operation to intensify the cleaning up of the inner city with a particular focusing on removing drugs form our streets which are often found in abandoned buildings in our inner city which have become a hot-bed for criminality. Today’s operation was carried out in Pretoria West and we will be conducting these operations on an ongoing basis.

This simply cannot continue any longer if we are to give effect to our promise to revitalise the inner city and attract productive and lawful economic activity to the benefit of the people of Tshwane.

To this end we have to reclaim the inner city.

During today’s operation we carried out arrests for the following:

• 13 x Arrests – Undocumented Persons
• 1 x Arrest – Fraudulent driver’s license (SAPS)
• 1 x Arrest Drug dealer (CAT and confiscated vehicle)
• 1 x Arrest Drug arrest (Informal trader)
• 14 x Vehicles impounded
• 6 x Car bodies impounded
• 2 x Food Trailers impounded
• 2 x Section 56 notices issued Traders
• 8 x AARTO 31 notices issued for parking on side walk
• 2 x Tool boxes confiscated, left unattended
• 3 x Jacks confiscated, left unattended
• 7 x Business licenses; formal businesses not complying with the business
 Act – R2 100-00
• 2 x Health By-laws, formal businesses not complying with the business act
 R3 500-00
• 3 x Illegal electricity connections; charged and cut – R3 000-00
• 6 x OTR (Order to rectify) to formal businesses, not complying with the
 business act
• 2 x Dumping on the side walk; section 56 notices issued (R5 000-00)
• 2 x Premises closed not complying with the fire brigade regulations
 (R22 000-00)

This was at 2pm today and the operation is expected to carry on into the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning.

The City of Tshwane’s Inner City Rejuvenation Programme under Operation Tswelopele is a demonstration of this leadership’s commitment towards the urban renewal drive to revitalise Tshwane to attract investment and productive activities as well as to ensure the cleanliness of the city to enable both formal and informal businesses to conduct their activities in a conducive environment.

Last year I announced the inner city rejuvenation programme and since that announcement the Anti-Drug and Anti-Cable Theft initiatives have yeiled some results however, since then we have recognized that more needs to be done in this regard. That is why we are here today to build on the work that has been done.

Notably, this will enable a multi-pronged approach to dealing decisively with crime and illicit activities in the inner city. Derelict buildings in Tshwane often harbour criminals and rob our city of the economic productivity needed to enhance the quality of lives of all residents. These buildings are often riddled with service connections that contravene City of Tshwane by-laws.

Fighting crime is at the top of our priority list and we will do what we can within the confines of the law to reclaim our beautiful city from criminals.

During my State of the Capital Address (SoCA), I said the City of Tshwane is working towards attracting approximately R10,8 billion in investment. The rejuvenation of our inner city will go a long way to achieving this. The Inner City Rejuvenation Programme is not designed to stifle the work of informal traders and other businesses in the inner city but rather to create an environment that invites residents and tourists alike into the city.

I believe Operation Tswelopele provides an excellent renewal strategy to achieve this objective and to ignite excellence through the revitalisation of the inner city and its surrounds.

It is a sad reality that an African capital city is faced with a problem of buildings that have over time deteriorated to such an extent that they are no longer suitable to be used for the purposes initially intended and are completely uninhabitable. There is also an increase in buildings being used for purposes other than what is allowed in their approved land use rights.

This does not only lead to an unhealthy and unsafe environment but blemishes the city and creates opportunities for criminal activity to thrive in it. This challenge can only be addressed if approached via an integrated effort and a programme to sustain the results achieved. The City of Tshwane and various stakeholders in this space, such as financial institutions, private owners (like City Property) and tenants, need to play their role in advancing the directive of the current Inner City Regeneration Programme.

We therefore encourage any and all residents who know of or witness any illicit activity to contact the hotline number 012 358 4118 or email us at business-support@tshwane.gov.za.

We are again sending a strong warning to absentee landlords to get their house in order and pay for services. We will also monitor buildings that are vulnerable to degeneration and act against the owners. Every person deserves to live in a dignified environment and we call on landlords to be sensitive to this request.

We have a major role to play in the drive towards sustainable development and positioning ourselves as a sustainable African capital city. Therefore, one of the sectors that we are focusing on in order to achieve sustainable growth and development is the built environment.

The multi-departmental programme will see the Tshwane Metropolitan Police and Economic Development and Spatial Planning Departments, and the private sector uniting their expertise to address the use of derelict buildings, illegal electricity and water connections, drug-related cases, unlawful businesses and the contravention of by-laws.

The City of Tshwane will enhance sound urban management practice and define the enforcement capacity of the Municipality, landlords and the courts to deal with derelict buildings.

The foundation of inner city rejuvenation is a clean city and concerted efforts have been made by strategic stakeholders within the CBD in order to improve amongst others the cleanliness and viability of the City.

It is our commitment to harness the R2.3 billion in investment announced last year to ensure that we continue to bring this steady creation of job opportunities to more and more people of Tshwane and to ultimately realise a safe and inclusive Tshwane rich with opportunity.

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