#Law & Order
City of Johannesburg
South Africa

On Thursday 19 July 2012 at 5.01pm, Yeoville Bellevue community activist Maurice Smithers received a threatening SMS which read as follows:

"It has come to our attention that you want to rule this area disturbing our bussinessis,wll not allow that,so we are going to make sure that u move out of this area,watch and see!we know where your wife works we know the car shes driving(******)registration known,your son is driving ***** and you are driving a volgsvagen kumbi,your son is@****** we know where he is studing,we know your office and people who are working for you,we are giving you a month to leave this area starting from today,this is the are black africans,u are left alone,people like you are staying at sandton,leave before you see the wrath of black people,we are warning you,mother f****er (** stars added)"

Although we are concerned about the safety of Maurice Smithers, his family and his colleagues, we want to make it clear that this is not an attack on them alone. This is an attack on all right-minded community activists who are striving for the development of Yeoville Bellevue as a clean, safe, law-abiding and prosperous suburb in which all who live and work here can enjoy a reasonable quality of life.

We believe that this threat is the direct outcome of the breakdown of law and order in Yeoville Bellevue which is not being adequately addressed by various responsible agencies of the state, including (but not only) the SAPS, the CoJ (including the JMPD and the MOEs created by the CoJ) and the Gauteng Liquor Board.

As a result of this breakdown in law and order, a culture of ‘anything goes’ has developed in the Yeoville Bellevue area. This means that, every day, there are a great many illegalities and criminal activities are taking place in the area, which are not being adequately addressed by the various state authorities.

These include (but are not restricted to):
• Illegal business activities, including unapproved spaza shops
• Illegal and non-compliant liquor trading, including the social consequences of alcohol abuse such as domestic violence, crimes against women and children etc
• Noise pollution
• The lack of a sustainable management solution for the informal trading sector
• Housing problems, including overcrowding, the lack of social housing and the hijacking of properties
• Dirty streets (which is partly a failure by the CoJ to communicate with and educate the community on civic duties)

Community members who live or work in the area are therefore faced with the dilemma of how to respond to the situation. Among the options open to them are:
• To leave
• To accept what is happening in the belief that there is nothing they can do about it
• To actively work for the improvement of the area and for an end to the illegalities and criminal activities

However, the culture of ‘anything goes’ has led to a belief amongst certain people that they can continue with their activities, however illegal, because the lack of enforcement by the state has led them to believe that they are ‘untouchable’. As a result, when community members challenge this view through their efforts to improve the area, they become targets of those who benefit from the prevailing climate of lawlessness.

We, the attached signatories, believe that Maurice Smithers and his fellow community activists are working in the best interests of the community of Yeoville Bellevue and that it is because of this work and because of the failure of the state to adequately carry out its responsibilities that Maurice Smithers has received the threatening SMS reproduced above.

We therefore call on the various responsible agencies of the state – including (but not only) the SAPS, the CoJ (including the JMPD and the MOEs created by the CoJ) and the Gauteng Liquor Board – to act decisively and effectively to restore a culture of law and order in Yeoville Bellevue.

We further call on these agencies to engage fully and effectively with all stakeholders of Yeoville Bellevue to agree on ways of both restoring a culture of law and order and ensuring the socio-economic development of Yeoville Bellevue in order to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for the area.

We would like a constructive response to this petition as soon as possible, but no later than 30 August 2012.

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The Restore law and order in Yeoville and Bellevue petition to City of Johannesburg was written by Yeoville Bellevue Support Committee and is in the category Law & Order at GoPetition.