Mayor declares war against crime

THE mayor of eThekwini, Obed Mlaba, has called on the communities of Durban, especially those in Umlazi and KwaMashu, to unite against crime.

Mlaba was speaking in Durban yesterday at the launch of the Mayor's Awards for Excellence - to be held this Friday at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre.

The awards, in their 12th year, honour community members who excel in crime prevention, job creation, tourism, clean environment, biodiversity and community development - and expect nothing in return.

"I feel pride when I look back to where we came from with these awards. We have achieved many things. But I feel a lot of hard work still needs to be done," Mlaba said.

He said despite the achievements reached he was concerned about the "bad image" of the city's two major townships - Umlazi and KwaMashu.

"We, as the citizens of the city and of these townships, need to do something. The crime statistics released recently by the national minister of police put out a very bad image of the two townships.

"The fact that KwaMashu remains a capital city of murders, with Umlazi topping the list as the hijacking hub, doesn't sell us well as a city or province.

"So challenge each and every member of our society to do something. We cannot be held to ransom by criminals."

City manager Mike Sutcliffe warned criminals that they would be dealt with harshly. He said the city was working with the police to ensure that townships became safer. "We have to be tough on crime to win this war, which is why we are working with the police to address the criminal challenges," Sutcliffe said.

"Also, we are improving the (township's) infrastructure as part of curbing crime in general."