Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba officially switched on closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras on Wednesday July 19 along Vilakazi Street in Orlando West, Soweto, to ensure the safety of tourists and locals following the murder of a restaurant manager in the famous precinct a few months ago.
Kwesi Hudson, General Manager of the internationally acclaimed Sakhumzi restaurant, was shot dead during an armed robbery in January 2017 in an incident that drew headlines across the globe.
Shocked and riled by the horrific incident, Mayor Mashaba immediately moved to announce that the City would soon install CCTV cameras along the street to improve the safety and security of both tourists and locals. He was one of the first senior politicians to respond after the murder of the 60-year-old Hudson, a Ghanaian national.
Vilakazi Street is probably the only street in the world that produced two Nobel Peace laureates – the late former president Nelson Mandela and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. It also boasts eateries such as Sakhumzi, Restaurant Vilakazi and Nambitha, which all cater for locals and tourists.
Unveiling 25 hi-tech surveillance cameras, which will be monitored around the clock by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), Mayor Mashaba said crime had a negative impact on people’s lives and businesses and therefore had to be confronted.
Having campaigned on a ticket to clean Johannesburg of crime and grime, Mashaba said he would continue to fight criminality in the city.
The Mayor again made a commitment to make Vilakazi Street and other precincts in the city safe zones. “Increasing security along Vilakazi Street, foreign and local tourists will enjoy their stay knowing that someone is guarding them. We need to invest in fighting crime as it has a negative impact on business and investment.
“Sakhumzi and other establishments in the area employ many local people and the survival of these institutions depends on how we make them safe,” Mashaba said.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Public Safety Cllr Michael Sun said over and above the installation of CCTV cameras, the precinct would be patrolled by JMPD officers.
“When the Mayor made the commitment to this community, we had to act and act fast to bring safety and security to this area. Vilakazi Street and the history it continues to share with the world and those who visit South Africa should be guarded. I promise that this area will be safeguarded,” said Cllr Sun
Ward councillor Themba Msibi said he was grateful to Mayor Mashaba and his executive for the security measures that had been taken. He said more than 700 people were employed by the restaurants and other businesses along Vilakazi Street.
Sakhumzi Maqubela, the owner of Sakhumzi restaurant, thanked Mayor Mashaba for keeping his promise.