ANC irked by Australian MP's remark about 'crime-infested' Johannesburg

26 January 2017 - 16:34 By TMG Digital

An Australian politician has raised the ire of the African National Congress for highlighting Johannesburg's reputation as a crime-infested city‚ which South Africa's ruling party rejects as a "lazy stereotype".

"The ANC calls on the High Commission of Australia in Pretoria to clarify the comments made by Mr. Matthew Guy MP‚" the party said in a statement on Thursday.

Guy‚ Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Victoria‚ made the remark after a group of inmates who escaped from a youth detention facility late Wednesday.

The escapes have led to criticism of the way in which the Victoria government manages the youth justice system‚ prompting Guy to call for the sacking of the Premier - saying the current government was "standing by and allowing Melbourne to become the Johannesburg of the South Pacific".

"These comments are regrettable‚ and feed into lazy stereotypes of African cities as crime havens‚" the ANC said. "They serve to tarnish the reputation of the City of Johannesburg - known widely as the gateway to Africa; and regularly cited amongst several indices as world-class city.

"Drawing South Africa - with a well established reputation as a leading tourism destination‚ into the political frays of Victoria state‚ is unfortunate and unbecoming of a senior Australian politician."

The ANC also took the opportunity to criticise Mayor Herman Mashaba‚ who won the metro for the Democratic Alliance in last year's municipal elections.

It claimed Mashaba had several times described Johannesburg as crime-riddled‚ and that his words had reached Australian ears. "The ANC hopes that in future Mayor Mashaba and his organisation will consider the far-reaching impact of their disparaging remarks - for in essence the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria‚ Australia is merely paraphrasing Mayor Mashaba. Such words are an insult to the residents of the City of Johannesburg and to the countless men and women who work for the City‚ and who remain dedicated to sustaining the city's reputation as a place of choice to work and live."