A consultative safer city engagement was held on 21st February 2019 at the Durban Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre. The aim of the engagement was to find workable solutions around 21st century policing and the use of technology to advance the fight against crime. This is in recognition of the fact that cities are engines of growth development and that crime impacts sustainable development.
In her address, eThekwini Deputy Mayor, Fawzia Peer, said that safety and policing are critical for economic progress and livability. She stated that “safety for all at the moment is a big issue, therefore strategic input is needed to address these issues.”
Cities have observed increased levels of crime due to migration, poverty and rapid urbanization. Communities live in fear and policing in the twenty first century, needs vigorous conversation to fix fractures that impact safety. For a city to succeed, it is of paramount importance that crime is tackled. The alleviation of crime and making our communities safe is a top priority for the City.
Noluthando Magewu, Acting Deputy City Manager for the Community and Emergency Services cluster, reiterated that safety in eThekwini is guided by the goals of sustainable development. The complexity of crime had developed over years and the law is one step behind. “Our strategies need to be more preventative, proactive and smarter using technology to advance a safe city,” Magewu said.
Acting Head of the Safer Cities Unit, Bongumusa Zondo said, “Cities are engines of growth and development. This is because people are moving to cities with hope that their lives will change for the better. As more people move to cities, the pressure is mounting for city leadership and administration to ensure that all people are safe and feel safe in both private and public spaces.
This necessitates the need for integrated and comprehensive programmes’ which are developed through active participation of all relevant stakeholders, such as organized business, academia and government through an all-of-society approach.”
The said integrated and comprehensive approach requires co-production of safety and a collective responsibility, strategic programme and foundation for successful communities, increased investor confidence and fulfilling lives, where communities enjoy services and are continuously engaged.
Tshepo Thlaku, Founder of Pulego Communications, who has partnered with the City of Tshwane to pilot the Co-City App to deal with: effective citizen engagement, measure and monitor responses to incidents and using data to proactively plan for a safer and more responsive city. He stated that one of the innovations in future is ‘Fiyela’. Fiyela is an IoT that enables street sweepers to report certain incidents as they work the city. They can report illegal dumping, leaking pipes and emergencies by pressing 1 of the 3 buttons located on a broom. The device will then send the GPS coordinates to the relevant departments.
Going forward, the City will identify an area within which to conduct a pilot project, document learning and then propose the implementation of the project throughout the region.