Rise Mzansi plans to dig deep to tackle crime in Gauteng 

Rise Mzansi hosted a panel discussion to inform citizens on their plan to tackle crime in Gauteng. 

Newcomer to national politics, Rise Mzansi plans to tackle crime through addressing structural issues head on, instead of narrowly focusing on policing alone.

On April 9, 2024, Rise Mzansi hosted a panel discussion at Workshop 17 in Rosebank Mall to address their proposed policies on safety and security in South Africa, with emphasis on the need to address the root causes of crime. 

This discussion was the second instalment of a weekly event hosted by Rise labelled the “Citizens Assembly’. A public forum to deliberate proposed policies and electoral issues, allowing input from both a panel of experts and citizens in attendance. The idea is to incorporate feedback to improve policies and build a genuine ‘people’s manifesto’. 

Monday’s assembly was hosted by human rights activist, Mark Heywood and Rise’s Gauteng Premier candidate, Vuyiswa Ramokgopa. Heywood said the format would “pioneer the practice of participatory democracy”, and the two hours that followed proved his point.  

The panel of experts included Head of Justice and Violence Prevention at the Institute for Security Studies Gareth Newham, founder of the NGO ‘Nirvana’ Jennifer Matibi, lawyer and human rights activist Nicole Fritz, and founding member of ‘Guns Free South Africa’, Adele Kirsten. 

The assembly began with Ramokgopa outlining Rise’s objectives regarding safety and security in Gauteng. The panel then scrutinised the plan and offered suggestions on possible ways to improve the proposed policies. 

Rise Mzansi’s plan to address safety and security in Gauteng. Infographic: Kabir Jugram

Gareth Newham spoke of the importance of addressing the root causes of crime and suggested the possibility of hiring more social workers instead of police officers so the trauma behind criminality can be addressed. 

Once all experts had offered their input, the discussion was then opened to the floor for citizen input, critique and query. It was here that possible policy blind spots were pointed out – such as their neglect of the LGBTQIA+ community as pointed out by a member of the floor.

In response, Ramokgopa said profit-driven incentives contribute to the culture of corruption in the police force and that heteronormative values allow impunity in addressing rape and crimes against the LGBTQI+ community.

“We are a traumatized nation that uses violence to solve problems. (So) we need to rebuild the South African family,” she said. 

Furthermore, the event intended to illustrate what sets Rise apart from other parties in the run-up to the national elections in May. The party has built its brand off promising a new style of leadership to the current government- with their campaign slogan being “#WeNeed NewLeaders”. 

Rise claims to offer transparent leadership that is actively involved in the communities they represent. The citizen’s assembly will resume weekly in the run-up to the election and recorded sessions are available here.

PROFILE: An unconventional lookout on Wits’ doorstep

While crime usually thrives under the cover of darkness, Sibusiso Motaung has taken it upon himself to help protect students on Empire Road at night.

By day, Sibusiso Motaung uses the intersection between Yale and Empire Road as a place to ask motorists and passersby for change to buy food. But by night, he becomes an informant for Wits Campus Security.  

Sibusiso can be found outside the Wits entrance on Empire asking for change at the intersection.
It is this same area he guards at night. Photo: Kabir Jugram

Hailing from Daveyton, Motaung has been travelling to Wits daily for the past two months in the hopes of raising funds to take care of his niece, his sole family member in Johannesburg. Even on a cold, rainy day – such as when Wits Vuvuzela interviewed him – he can be seen walking up and down the street to make enough money to survive the day. 

But life is not all about money for Motaung.  He lives by a philosophy of spreading as much love and joy as possible in his lifetime. For this reason, he says he has taken the initiative of “watching over the streets” as students leave and enter campus at night.  

He waits by the intersection up to 23:00 to perform this voluntary role. He notes suspicious vehicles or people hovering around Wits’ entrance on Empire, and reports incidents to campus security as soon as they arise. 

Motaung sayss muggings and robberies from Uber drivers are the most prevalent crimes he witnesses. 

Campus control officers said they could neither confirm Motaung’s claims, but a nightshift guard said tip-offs from multiple off-campus sources are used to assist vulnerable students, especially relating to muggings and robberies from Uber drivers (as claimed by Sibusiso).   

Camus Security offers 24-hour patrol services both inside and surrounding the campus. Importantly, these tip-offs enable them to respond to situations quicker and deploy back-up as necessary. 

One of the busiest entrances on Wits University’s East Campus, Motaung says he has witnessed countless crimes just on the other side of these boom gates. Photo: Kabir Jugram

If Sibusiso is an informant, he plays an important role in keeping students safe as they leave Wits at night. All this he does whilst appearing as a mere beggar to the students that pass him by.

This does not phase him, as his philosophy of love is enough to give him satisfaction: “Life’s not about money. (It) is about love, joy and God. Life is about that, so we must all help each other.” 

Hip-Hop gets its wings in Braam

The spirit of Hip-Hop was on full display at the Red Bull event, through competitive breakdancing and headlining performances from A-Reece and Priddy Ugly.  

The Red Bull BC One competition, which took place on March 23, 2024 at TMF Studios in Braamfontein saw scores of people gather to give the art of breakdancing its flowers.  

The competition is a Red Bull initiative, intended to shine a light on South Africa’s breakdancing culture and provide a platform for professional breakdancers (known as B-Boys/Girls) to demonstrate their creativity and talent through competition.  

A B-Boy performs before judges. Photo: Kabir Jugram

This was certainly the case for Joony Roc from Johannesburg South, a passionate B-Boy, who has been working on his craft for over 10 years. Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after performing to the sound of deafening speakers and roaring applause from a jam-packed audience, he said: “Seeing the turnout tonight and some of the faces that are here… I’m happy. It feels like the culture is being sparked again and people are starting to pay attention to breaking because breaking is one of the original elements of Hip-Hop.” 

While the event gave exposure to an unsung art form, it also paid homage to an iconic one: Hip-Hop. With the likes of A-Reece and Priddy Ugly headlining the event, hundreds of young artists and hip-hop lovers were seen filling up the stands.

As A-Reece quietly emerged from the crowd to perform, cheers only grew louder the closer he got to the stage. This excitement would soon build into a hysteria of moshing bodies, strained voices and enchanted minds as the crowd was reciting A-Reece’s verses bar for bar throughout his performance.  

A-Reece performing to a packed crowd. Footage: Kabir Jugram

The spirit of hip-hop had people enchanted. An up-and-coming artist named ‘OG Wanton’ summed this up neatly, “Without Hip-Hop I’d be lost. It gave me a safe space to create, write and express how I feel… Without that in life, I wouldn’t be who I am right now”. His collaborator ‘Pxzess’ added: “It (Hip-Hop) puts us (the youth) in a position of being something bigger than us as individuals. Hip Hop is a movement, not a genre.” 

Rapper and headliner artist, Priddy Ugly told Wits Vuvuzela that hip-hop played a pivotal role in his life and development: “Hip-hop culture raised me. I wouldn’t be here without it. Hip-hop taught me to believe in myself, taught me confidence… it taught me my language!”

Priddy Ugly headlined the Red Bull One Event on Saturday. Photo: Kabir Jugram

In an age where Amapiano has become a global phenomenon and artists like Tyla and Black Coffee have achieved global acclaim, hip-hop has fallen by the wayside in terms of its mainstream appeal. However, it is events such as this that remind us that while the culture has been neglected in recent times, it has certainly not lost its relevance or importance. 

The event united people around their common love for a genre that grew them, moulded their identities and taught them self-expression. Not only was this event an exhibition of a growing breakdance culture, but it also served as a timely reminder of the importance of hip-hop to the lives of many South African youths.  

FNB VARSITY CUP: Clash of Titans ends in stalemate

Nothing could separate the Boys in Blue and Ikeys in an erratic varsity cup battle.

Wits University clashed with the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the Varsity Cup on March 18, 2024, with the game eventually ending in a nail-biting 33-33 draw.  

The visitors came into the game as favourites on the back of two successive victories against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Central University of Technology (CUT).  

Wits on the other hand headed into the encounter seeking redemption on the heels of a two-game losing streak, the most recent being a 51-22 away loss to the North-West University (NWU) Eagles.  

A second minute penalty and three tries saw UCT go into the half-time break with a 10-28 lead over the home side.  

However, Wits flew out the traps in the second half, scoring two tries within the first five minutes. One courtesy of fullback, Setshaba Mokoena, who ripped through the UCT defence before he chipped, then chased the ball to score a dazzling solo effort. 

Wits and UCT engaged in a tight battle at Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Kabir Jugram

This dizzying spell from the home side reduced the halftime deficit to two points, but only for a matter of minutes as a try by Mhleli Khuzwayo extended the buffer for the away side.  

The scoreboard was 26-33 to the Ikeys with ten minutes left on the clock, setting the stage for a nervy finale. But the Wits crowd remained at full volume, and their spirit was duly rewarded when Wits prop, Ronan Dutton scrambled over the goal line in the final minute of the game. After a successful conversion, the game ended in a 33-33 draw.   

Debutant Wits flanker, Kevin Kakoma said the match was, “Absolutely exhilarating! [I] had a blast out there. It was tough, obviously, they kept coming and never really died down, but it was a good push.” He said the crowd was a highlight, “I’m truly thankful for everyone coming out and just giving out support. I really felt that I was at home here”. 

UCT prop John Okonkwo said, “We brought the energy, we brought the effort. Kudos to Wits, they really put us on our toes today, especially in the second half. I think a draw justifies the game and how it actually played out.” 

Wits is now fifth on the Varsity Cup log with two games remaining. Their next clash is against the UJ at the UJ Stadium on March 25, 2024.   

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits and UCT players compete for a line-out. Photo: Kabir Jugram