A strong DA can rescue Riverlea from violent crime

16 May 2024 in News

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, during a crime march in Riverlea Johannesburg. 

Pictures are attached here, here, here, here, here and here.

Democrats and residents of Riverlea,

We meet here today to send a clear message.

Ons boodskap is eenvoudig, maar magtig.

We have had enough.

Ons het genoeg gehad.

The people of Riverlea have had enough of violent crime that leaves people fearing for their lives inside their own homes.

The people of Riverlea have had enough of gangsters and thugs, who hijack our children’s futures and their lives.

Above all, we have had enough of a government that does nothing to protect the people from rampant crime.

In the last month, we have seen a clear escalation in the war waged by violent criminals against our communities.

Here in Riverlea, Jukskei Park has become a notorious crime hotspot.

Recently, four young people were shot here in Riverlea extension.

One of them was declared dead on the scene.

This unspeakable violence has become a common occurrence, and almost none of these murders are ever solved.

Ons het nou genoeg gehad.

Today, the people of Riverlea are standing up to take back this park, and this community, from the thugs who think they run our lives.

To make matters even worse, when residents report crimes to the police, they know the chance is close to zero that the criminals will ever be brought to book.

The DA recently revealed that 5.4 million police dockets have been closed over the past five years because SAPS couldn’t even collect basic evidence.

That 5.4 million cases where criminals went free includes many cases from Riverlea – and from this very park.

Where is the justice for Riverlea?

Waar is die geregtigheid vir ons mense in hierdie gemeenskap?

There is no justice for the people of Riverlea, because Bheki Cele and the ANC are too busy looking after themselves to look after the people.

But it’s not just the ANC.

We all know that the ANC lost its majority in Johannesburg and are now running this city in coalition with other parties that have sold out its voters.

Parties like the Patriotic Alliance.

Before the 2021 local elections, Gayton McKenzie came to this community and promised you the sun, the moon and the stars.

Hy’t gesê dat omdat hy ‘n gangster is, sal hy gangsterism kan beveg.

But what happened then?

He sold you out to the gangsters in the ANC and EFF!

And crime didn’t get better in Riverlea, it got worse!

Because the PA sold you out to the ANC and EFF after 2021, this community is more dangerous today than it was before.

There is more crime, more violence, and more illegal land grabs.

There is less policing, less service delivery, and less hope in Riverlea today.

And that is all because of Gayton McKenzie and the Patriotic Alliance.

Let me tell you: there is absolutely nothing “patriotic” about selling out the people of Riverlea to the ANC, the EFF, and the violent criminals that terrorise this community.

But we know that it’s not only happening here.

In Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape, the PA also sold its voters out to the ANC and the EFF.

And just a few weeks ago, a three-year-old boy called Emilio Hutchinson was shot to death inside his own home in the community of Helenvale, along with two other members of his household.

Just like we are doing here today, the DA joined that community to say: we have had enough.

The DA in the Eastern Cape and the community of Helenvale launched a #Justice4Emilio campaign and even handed over a memorandum to Bheki Cele, demanding that he take urgent action within 14 days.

But guess what?

He completely ignored the pleas from the community.

He couldn’t even be bothered to respond.

What kind of person is our police minister, when he thinks a triple murder, including a three-year-old inside his own home, doesn’t even deserve a response?

These are the kind of people that the PA sold out to, in Riverlea, in Nelson Mandela Bay, and across the whole of South Africa.

But, together with the DA, the people of Riverlea are today taking a stand to say: it doesn’t have to be this way.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In just 13 days from today, we have the opportunity to choose a better way, by holding accountable the parties that sold us out to violent criminals.

And, on the 29th of May, we have the power to vote for a party that will never sell you out to criminals, that has a proven track record of combatting crime, and that has a clear plan to end gangsterism and violence.

That party, is your party, it’s my party, and it’s our party: the Democratic Alliance.

Unlike politicians who only try to manipulate people with empty promises, the DA delivers.

It’s not the promises that count – it’s the track record of action that counts.

And no other party can touch the DA when it comes to our proven record of good governance and tackling crime.

Where people have voted us into power with an outright majority, like they did in the Western Cape, we spent R1.2 billion on creating our own local law enforcement capacity, called the LEAP project, with 1 200 well-trained officers.

Thanks to the DA’s investment in local policing, LEAP has already arrested over 27 000 criminals since it was created in 2020.

Just imagine how much safer the people of Riverlea would be, if you vote for a DA government like the people of the Western Cape have done.

Just imagine how much safer Gauteng would be, if we deployed 1 200 highly skilled officers to arrest tens of thousands of criminals.

But it doesn’t end there.

We have pledged in our manifesto that we will halve the rate of violent crime, including murder, attempted murder and gender-based violence, within a single term in office.

At the moment, 84 people are murdered in South Africa every single day.

If you vote for the DA, you will help to elect a new government that will literally save the lives of those people every day.

The DA’s plan to rescue Riverlea and Gauteng from crime is credible, because we know what it takes to turn things around – like we have already done in places like the Western Cape, Midvaal in Gauteng, uMngeni in KwaZulu-Natal and everywhere else that people voted DA.

We have zero tolerance for corruption and cadre deployment, because we know that these evils have destroyed the SAPS.

That is why we will abolish cadre deployment and ensure that only skilled officials are appointed to lead the many honourable police officers who want to serve their communities.

We will also devolve more policing powers to local communities.

It is absurd that Bheki Cele sits in his office in Pretoria with the power to decide what the police should do here in Riverlea.

Ek dink nie hy kan eers vir Riverlea kry op ‘n kaart nie!

That is why the DA says we must decentralise policing, so that the community of Riverlea can themselves decide for themselves what the problems are, and how to address them.

In this election, a vote for the DA is a vote for a safer Riverlea.

If you agree with me that we have had enough of violent crime in this country, then now is the time for all of us to take action.

There is simply too much at stake, for anyone to stay at home on Election Day.

Our lives, and the lives of our children, are on the line in this election.

And there is only one way to rescue South Africa from the violent criminals that hold our communities hostage.

If we want to take the criminals off our streets, we must first remove the criminals who sit in government.

If we want to rid our communities of gangsterism, we must get the gangsters out of government here in Johannesburg and across the country.

There is only one way to do this: by voting for the DA.

Because only a strong DA can rescue South Africa from crime.

That is why, on the 29th of May, we must let the message we send here today reverberate across South Africa.

We need to say loud and clear that we have had enough.

That it doesn’t have to be this way.

In this election, we all need to choose hope.

The people of South Africa hold the key to ensuring that hopes defeats fear.

So, if you are tired of living in fear.

If you are tired of politicians who promised you safer streets but then sold you out to the ANC and EFF.

And if you agree with me that the time has come to create safe communities where our children can play in the streets rather than being killed inside their own homes.

Then the time has come to elect the DA into government, so that we can rescue South Africa from violent crime.

Thank you.