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Thursday Oct 18, 2012

New plan to combat Joburg city crime and grime

'We are at your service to deliver and enforce by-laws as a deterrent to crime and grime, and there will be accountability."

These were the words of Vicky Shuping, the director of Region B, speaking at the last launch of the new "10 Joburg metro police officers per ward project" in Parkhurst.

At the meeting, a new team representing all the departments and utilities was introduced to residents, as well as the metro police superintendents in charge.

The region represents four areas stretching across Rosebank, Craighall Park, Melville, Greenside, Parkhurst and Emmarentia.

The project is now set to kick off city-wide, as all the introductions have been made at ward level.

This means residents will now have a direct line of communication with staff in various departments - such as building control, Johannesburg Water, Pikitup, the Johannesburg Roads Agency and the metro police - to report to directly if their problems are not solved through the Joburg Connect call centre.

Residents have been given a comprehensive list of cellphone numbers of the ward councillors, the metro police superintendent responsible for each ward, the various utilities and departments, and ward co-ordinators.

However, Shuping appealed to residents to phone the call centre as their first point of contact, so that a reference number is obtained.

Only if a problem is urgent or is not being addressed should the representatives be contacted on their cellphones, she said. Their numbers should be used at people's discretion, she said.

"These representatives will be available on their cellphones, and we know we can depend on them, but we must not inundate them with queries that can be logged with the call centre," said Shuping.

If residents do not get an adequate response to their problems from the officials or representatives, they can escalate them up the reporting line, and it will end up on the desk of the regional director, who will hold the responsible officials accountable, said Shuping.

"We admit there have been challenges in the past, and there probably will be more while we iron out teething problems," she said.

A profile has been drawn up of each ward, highlighting problems peculiar to the area, such as illegal businesses, dumping, illegal building, shebeens and poor roads.

How it works is that each of the council's regions will have a regional co-ordinator who will have to report to the regional directors. They will oversee implementation, ensure targets are met, update ward profiles and facilitate meetings.

Under the regional co-ordinators will be ward co-ordinators, who will monitor and manage performance, prepare reports and also oversee the implementation of ward-based service delivery.

Under the ward co-ordinators will be utilities such as Johannesburg Water, City Power, the Johannesburg Roads Agency, City Parks, Pikitup, the SAPS, Home Affairs, the liquor board, Emergency Management Services, and inspectors from urban management, environmental health and building control.

Monthly meetings will be held with all the parties involved.

The Star

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