‘We’d like vulnerable residents to be able to defend themselves against danger,’ – Michael Sun

Following numerous reports of violence against women and more recently female students in the inner city, the Department of Public Safety in conjunction with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will today (14 June) launch the Women Safety Campaign at the UJ Sophiatown residence in Brixton.

The initiative is geared towards keeping female residents in the City safe. The launch comes after an event was held at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on 9 June, where the Metro police and the South African police – largely female officers – marched against the heightened abuse experienced by women and children in communities in and around Johannesburg.

“In light of the recent spate of violence and attacks against women, the department saw a need to put our money where our mouth is,” said a member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety Michael Sun.

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“We have recently distributed safety-tip pamphlets with whistles [attached]. We’re hoping that in the case of an emergency, this small whistle can make a noise loud enough to attract attention and in the process, ward off any attackers in the case of danger to our women residents.”

In addition to the continued distribution, Sun indicated that free basic self-defence classes will be held.
“We’ve prepared the services of self-defence instructors in order for those who are interested in equipping themselves with basic techniques so that they can protect themselves in the case of danger. Having said that, this is not to say that we will leave the protection of the City to the residents, but will still be there to ensure their safety.

“We would, however, like to see the more vulnerable group of residents in the City able to defend themselves in the case of imminent danger.”

The MMC added that the self-defence classes will be rolled-out across the inner city, with the next phase planned for the Metro Centre in Braamfontein.

“We’d like to open this opportunity to other residents working in and around the city centre. However, we certainly wouldn’t expect for those taking up the introductory lessons to suddenly believe they can ward off a gun or knife-wielding attacker, but at least there is the introduction to basic techniques that one could use in the case of immediate danger.”

MOBILISING: From left to right, Metro police spokesperson Superintendent Edna Mamonyane, MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun and Johannesburg Central Cluster Commander Major-General Ronnie Rajin at an anti-violence march held at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on 9 June. Photo: Tshepiso Mametela

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