IN QUOTES | Herman Mashaba's last presser — 'when I took over, JMPD was demoralised'
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has only a week before he vacates his office after resigning a month ago. On Wednesday, he delivered his last media briefing as mayor, during which he reflected on the challenges and victories that came with the job.
He emphasised his role in changing Johannesburg's metro police force (JMPD) by recruiting 1,500 officers to beef up policing in the city, but said a lot more still needed to be done. Reflecting on the overall state of the country, he warned that SA might be on the brink of collapse.
Mashaba announced his resignation after the election of Helen Zille as the DA's federal executive council chairperson.
Here's his address in six telling quotes:
SA on the brink of collapse
“Our debt as a country is running close to 60% (of GDP). One can go on and on as to why we have challenges. If we don't do anything about these challenges, this country will collapse. There's no doubt about that. One does not have to be a political scientist, you just have to use common sense to realise that if we don't address all these indicators, this country will collapse.”
“I run Johannesburg, the biggest metro in the country, facing huge challenges. That is why when I took over, hardly six months into office, I took a very difficult decision to invest in the capacitation of JMPD, because I realised that without their support - our law enforcement agencies - we stood no chance of turning things about.”
City was a shambles
“When I took over in 2016, I found a demoralised JMPD. They used to call you all kinds of insults and it used to make me feel disheartened and demoralised, but I said South Africans are good human beings, and people just need leadership. If you want to destroy a country, the first thing politicians do is destroy the rule of law.”
Joburg will have its own prisons
“Johannesburg will have its own prisons. We must not give up on this mission to challenge national government to ensure that we give protection, provide safety to our residents, because once we have this leakage where our police can arrest but not prosecute, then we will be wasting limited public resources. For me, whether I'm in or out of politics, I will push this as a committed patriot who loves this country.”
Politicians are not above the law
“Law enforcement agencies, we'll fight for you, I will personally fight for you to make sure that you do your job without fear or favour, that we take politics out of the work that you do. It's important for you when you execute your job not to have politics in the mix, because once you bring politics in law enforcement agencies, then you men and women are compromised.”
Coalition government changed Joburg
“When we as the multiparty government came into power, we freed you [metro police], you were able to do your work without fear or favour. The results are there for anybody to see. The reason we committed to having the monthly crime stats was very important, it was that communities must know the type of work that law enforcement agencies do every day.”