The iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein, Johannesburg CBD, has for years been a hotspot for criminals who target passers-by, especially, students at night where they are robbed of their belongings.
Now, this is about to change. City of Joburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo has launched a safety plan to provide security to those using the bridge and the surrounding.
Braamfontein is home to students from Wits University, the University of Johannesburg and other colleges. However, they fall prey to criminals who terrorise and rob them of their belongings as they walk to and from their institutions of higher learning using the iconic bridge.
Previously there were reports of female students being abducted at night while walking on the bridge. But Makhubo says this would be the thing of the past.
“We started a process of reclaiming Nelson Mandela bridge from criminals who are terrorising our people and do not respect this iconic bridge named after Nelson Mandela. To succeed in our mission of making this city a safe one for all. Magwalandini, abo tsotsi, criminals, you won’t hide forever, you are not going to survive this. We are going to push you back.”
Mayor Makhubo says even workers and residents of the city also get robbed. He has committed to resolving this by increasing metro police officer visibility and introducing a satellite police station.
President of the Wits University Student representative council Mpendulo Mfeka has welcomed the intervention by the City.
“We’re quite excited about the launch because for a number of years Braamfontein has been an unsafe area. Not does this pose only a threat to students but to women, in particular, in the area of Braamfontein. We welcome the initiative, it’s a proposal we made last year November to say that could they please address GBV and second the crime. We welcome the increase of JMPD and to set up Satellite police stations.”
Students in the area have also welcomed the initiative. “For me, it is important for people to know that for students to succeed their main worry should be their studies not to know that if they could walk across the street, they could be mugged. The truth is, as the City has promised that their officials will do their job, if they reach to do their job, then people would be guaranteed to roam Braamfontein freely not expecting to be a victim of any form of criminality.”