#MashabaInAction: Making Rosettenville Great Again


On Wednesday evening Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba swooped in on Rosettenville with SAPS in tow, and began raiding residences.

In a series of tweets, the mayor broadcasted his findings and declarations that crime would not rule under his watch. Many residents seemed thankful for the intervention and #MashabaInAction was soon trending.

Yet, at the same time, it’s unclear whether the intervention was successful or primarily cosmetic. Some on social media were calling it out as a publicity stunt with shallow results. The pertinent question is whether the kingpins and those in charge were targeted – or whether it was primarily those working under said kingpins, such as sex workers and illegal immigrants looking to get by.

Some of Mashaba’s focus seemed to have been on checking for IDs, illegal dwellings, and why residences’ lights were on but the prepaid meters empty. Some compared Mashaba’s tactics to that of apartheid rule in terms of harassing people who weren’t necessarily involved in malicious activity. This is even more concerning if those targeted were primarily immigrants, as it smacks of xenophobia.

Irrespective of this, Mashaba indicated that this would be one of many raids to follow, and posted a spiffy media card declaring his war on crime and “rot” that the ANC had allowed Rosettenville to descend into. This is despite the fact that the Rosettenville ward has been run by the Democratic Alliance since 1994.

As Rosettenville community leader Simphiwe Hlaba told TimesLIVE, Mashaba seemed oblivious to this fact.

“We are not happy with him at all because on the Sunday that he came here‚ he decided to be politically opportunistic‚ blaming the previous administration‚” Hlaba said, “we don’t know what he means by the previous administration because the ward we are in has never been run by any other organisation except the Democratic Alliance. This is since 1994.”

Let’s just hope this war on crime doesn’t just target the poor and immigrants in Mashaba’s efforts to make Johannesburg great again.

Featured image via Twitter


  1. Hmm maybe Mashaba was referring to the Jo’burg municipality as a whole and not just the ward? Ward councillors have little power when they fall under an opposition run municipality, as was the case in Rosies till quite recently. I am glad to see steps being taken to bring some changes to what is actually one of Jo’burg’s historical neighbourhoods. It’s easy to criticise but nothing will ever change if nothing is ever done.

    If you look at the demographics of Rosettenville it consists mostly of foreign nationals and poor working class whites, both of which no one from the ANC or DA really give a damn about. In my opinion the rot that we see now should never have happened. The area was once home to a vibrant, working class and mostly-immigrant Portuguese community, maybe there is a blueprint that could be followed to facilitate this onto the current community? Easier said then done though I admit.

    I don’t think you fully understand the dynamics of Rosettenville just yet and there are a few inaccuracies in your article, but you are definitely getting there. All in all a well written article, as have been the last few that you have written. Keep up with the investigative journalism, you are the exception to what is generally a sorry excuse for a “media” site.

  2. “This is despite the fact that the Rosettenville ward has been run by the Democratic Alliance since 1994.”

    Jameel, do you actually understand how local government works? If so, you are simply being mischievous and dishonest. If not, then educate yourself before writing about it.

    Individual ward councillors don’t “run” wards; the City Council, and hence the majority party in the City Council, runs all wards within the city.

  3. Gasp! Immigrants! Prostitutes! Homeless people! Who will save us from these undesirables with appropriate and comforting state-sponsored violence? Herman Freakin’ Mashaba, that’s who! Look, he’s even got that Walker Texas Ranger pose down pat! Maybe he’ll let us all lick his tactical boots afterwards (just don’t ask where they’ve been).


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