The Congress of the People (COPE) Mayoral candidate, Colleen Makhubele says the City of Johannesburg needs to reconfigure its strategy on dealing with the overpopulation crisis.

The party promises to prioritise issues around spatial planning and economic inclusion for the poor. Makhubele was campaigning in Ivory Park, near Midrand, on Tuesday.

Located north of Johannesburg, Ivory Park is home to more than 100 000 people and basic services are lacking in the densely populated area.

Earlier this year, the late Johannesburg Mayor Geoff Makhubo visited the township as part of the 120-day programme to improve service delivery.

Now as election day edges closer, COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota and some party members visited the area and embarked on a door-to-door campaign ahead of the Local Government Elections.

Improving urban planning will be a priority for COPE’s Mayoral Candidate in the City of Johannesburg.

Makhubele says, “The space may not be as vast as we would need but it needs to be organised properly. There have to be experts that assist us with proper planning, once you can get the planning for housing done, you are able to get the basic services for each and every person.”

Crime in Ivory Park

Earlier this year, Police Minister Bheki Cele said 40 murders had been recorded in Ivory Park in the first quarter of 2021.

An increase from the 21 murders recorded in the area in the same period last year. Leading to it being dubbed the new murder capital of Gauteng.

The area was 9th on the list of the top ten areas in the country where crime was prevalent.

“A reality that residents are all too familiar with. There’s plenty of crime, we’re suffering with streetlights. It’s very dark when you go by the taxi rank in the morning, we’re scared. We need some developments because we are too populated right now,” says a resident.

This is a crisis that Makhubele says COPE hopes to resolve, “We have a society that is violent in its nature in South Africa and hence you find this criminality and all this frustration and GBV also stems from there.

We have a holistic plan to deal with crime so that we’re not only looking at robberies. We want to look at what is it in our society that actually is the root cause of all this crime, all the GBV, all the frustrations of young people to resort to this.”

For some, the promise of a better future has become a far-fetched idea.

They argue that political parties only enter their community to campaign for votes. COPE, however, believes it can change the narrative for the residents, ridding the community of crime and gender-based violence, as well as tackling the housing crisis.