In line with its focused approach to continue supporting tourism growth in Johannesburg, the Department of Economic Development: Tourism Directorate launched its Tourism Ambassador Programme at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein, on Tuesday, 28 May 2019.
“In terms of Johannesburg’s Growth and Development Strategy [GDS], the Joburg 2040 – tourism remains an economic growth imperative on the city’s agenda,” says Cllr Leah Knott, MMC for the City’s Department of Economic Development.
“In line with the prioritisation of achieving increased visitor arrivals in the city and contributing towards the economic growth target of 5% by 2021, Joburg Tourism sought ways to facilitate the tourism experience at sites and attractions in the City, rendering them safe, pleasant, informative and memorable”.
“The Tourism Ambassador Programme envisages making Johannesburg a safer destination, leading to an increased number of tourists visiting the City for both leisure and business. Cllr Michael Sun, MMC for Public Safety, is thrilled to be collaborating with the Joburg Tourism on the Tourism Ambassador Programme to create visibility at tourism sites and attractions.
“This is a proactive initiative which is set to reduce the number of security incidents affecting tourists and residents. Secondly, the ambassadors will assist in providing tourism information to tourists and visitors.”
With elements of linking ambassadors with visible policing and safety to deliver pleasant tourism experiences, the programme is also geared to create Johannesburg tourism ambassadors who are knowledgeable about attractions and their key selling points. The programme will enhance tourism safety in identified tourism nodes and create 60 direct job opportunities.
This will improve on opportunities created in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme [EPWP]. Gauteng Tourism Authority is implementing a similar programme on behalf of the National Department of Tourism; however, due to the limited number of monitors allocated, safety concerns are not being adequately addressed.
“We are thrilled that this Mayoral Service delivery initiative is also addressing the issue of reducing unemployment, as 60 unemployed Johannesburg youth with a minimum of matric qualifications have been selected to participate,” says Knott. “Selected from applicants in the Department of Public Safety’s unemployed youth database, the team of youngsters will be trained and thereafter deployed for a period of three years, receiving a stipend in line with the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) during this time.” Prior to their deployment, the team of 60 ambassadors will be trained in the following key aspects related to their role:
- Tourism information, geo-locating tourism sites and tourist site guidance
- Service excellence and customer care
- Communication skills and conflict management
- By-law education and awareness on issues such as public roads, street trading etc.
- Road Safety
- Community Patrolling
Safety and Security in the City of Johannesburg
As local government, the City via the Department of Public Safety takes direct responsibility for issues of safety and security – and is assisting the SA Police Services (SAPS) in its efforts to reduce crime and improve safety in Joburg. The Department of Public Safety is comprised of four sub-elements to ensure safety and security in the City: Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), Emergency Management Services (EMS), the Disaster Management Directorate and the Licensing Directorate.
The City’s effort to ensure safety and security is based on the integrated multi-agency Joburg City Safety Strategy (JCSS), revised in 2017, which embraces crime prevention through environmental design, as well as urban management and monitoring service delivery. The JCSS was developed in an effort to collectively improve safety in our city with all city stakeholders, in order to achieve caring, safe and secure communities as envisaged by the City’s long-term plans.
The City has invested in substantial CCTV infrastructure in the Inner City, monitored from the Integrated Intelligent Operations Centre (IIOC), located at the Department of Public Safety’s Martindale Headquarters. This provides surveillance of public space for crime prevention, as well as valuable assistance for urban management, traffic management and service delivery breakdowns. The IIOC is linked to a dedicated reaction unit of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police, to enable rapid intervention to incidents detected in the Inner City – further complementing the integrated safety and security plan, based on visible policing and by-law enforcement.
Collaboration with both national and provincial authorities, as well as the private sector and communities, is bearing fruit, as all stakeholders work together towards a safer Joburg and South Africa.
The Department of Public Safety also engages businesses across the City, many who have also formed close partnerships with the various law enforcement agencies at a local level. These have resulted in successful projects such as business-sponsored resources such as vehicles, which enable improved visible policing in business nodes around the City.
The City is also focusing its efforts on improving its planning and response with regard to emergency incidents and ensuring that there is a robust and constant focus on updating its disaster risk management plan. This is done through the complementary work undertaken by Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the Disaster Management Directorate.
The City’s EMS trains communities as part of the education programme to ensure effective response to emergency incidents. These are known as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and are on the frontline of the City’s initiatives to minimise the impact of emergency incidents on communities. Technology deployment by the Disaster Management Directorate, such as its automated weather stations across the City, linked to the Public Safety IIOC, enable rapid detection of adverse weather, and ensures both warnings to communities, as well appropriate dispatch of resources to impacted communities.
The work undertaken by Joburg as a host city for FIFA World Cup 2010 set up an important benchmark and enabled a blueprint for joint planning between the City’s safety and security, health and transport units for major events post 2010. This Events Joint Operations Committee (JOC) is the starting point for the hosting of any event in the City, ensuring the safety and security of both attendees to events, as well as residents of areas surrounding it. The City of Joburg regularly plays host to major events varying from sport and entertainment, to major international conferences such as the BRICS Summit hosted in Sandton in 2018. This depth of knowledge and experience has made the City of Joburg an important centre of learning for other municipalities and the Department of Public Safety regularly hosts delegations who wish to access and apply our practices.