E-panic button app: Zandspruit residents sceptical about the mobile security app as crime is rising in the area

The residents of Zandspruit, in the North of Johannesburg, attends that crime imbizo led by the MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko. Picture: Supplied

The residents of Zandspruit, in the North of Johannesburg, attends that crime imbizo led by the MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko. Picture: Supplied

Published May 10, 2024


By Simon Majadibodu

Residents of Zandspruit informal settlement in the north of Joburg have expressed scepticism towards the e-panic button mobile security app introduced by Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko.

Mazibuko led a crime imbizo in the area on Wednesday, together with Honeydew police station commander, Brigadier Anesh Maharaj and other officials, and introduced the mobile security app as a measure to alleviate crime.

Gauteng MEC of Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko leads the crime imbizo in Zandspruit and introduces the e-panic button mobile security app. Picture: Supplied

However, residents expressed scepticism regarding the app, citing that it won’t be able to address the high rate of crime in the area.

Thebelihle Baijang voiced doubts regarding the app's effectiveness in combating crime, noting that those who know how the app operates will share information with the criminals on how it functions.

“I don’t think it will work because we know that criminals work with these people, including the police who are supposed to be protecting the community,” she said.

Another resident, Mpho Ramovha, explained that she lost faith due to the increase of crime in the area and the absence of police visibility.

“Honestly, I have lost hope in everything, but I want to see changes in this area. The main problem is that there's a lack of police presence, and there’s a lot of crimes happening around here, including house invasions, robberies and murders.”

Addressing the community, Mazibuko said that the e-panic button app will be able to pinpoint the location of the emergency, link to the nearest police station or security agencies, and provide a swift response to the scene of the emergency.

“Crime Prevention Wardens, which are better known as ‘Ama-Panyaza’ and the Community Policing Forum members will work together with the police to fight crime,” she said.

She added that CCTV cameras will be rolled-out to keep an eye on the area.

“I want this place to be safe, and we must work together to combat crime, so we will put the CCTV cameras around this area to enhance visibility and arrest the criminals.”

Mazibuko mentioned that elderly people will be given portable panic buttons which operate without internet connection.

Meanwhile, another resident, Solly Moagi, expressed concerns regarding the police, alleging that they are working closely with criminals.

“The police are not doing enough to combat crime, actually instead, they are in cahoots with those who are on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

Brigadier Maharaj emphasised that contact crimes are the main concern in the area, which includes murder, attempted murder, assault, common assault and robberies, as well as sexual offences.

Responding to the accusation raised by residents, Maharaj said attention will be given to the concerns pointed out by the community members and urged them to report corrupt police officers.

“I encourage you all to be our eyes and ears about what is happening around here. If you have problems with the police, come to the station and report them, because I know there's a lot of accusations against the members,” he said.