WATCH | Notorious Hillbrow celebrates peaceful New Year's Eve without incident

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Residents of Hillbrow mostly spent New Year's Eve indoors. 
  • In the past, the area on New Year's Eve was synonymous with extreme violence and streets littered with garbage.
  • A few people were seen roaming the streets after curfew, but they quickly went inside on spotting the police convoy.

Residents of the Johannesburg suburb Hillbrow, which in the past was associated with violence and unruliness, mostly spent New Year's Eve indoors as 2020 drew to a close.

Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela said this was the second successful New Year's Eve operation in Hillbrow.

Mawela and his subordinates tightened their boots and hit the ground running in the notorious part of Johannesburg on Thursday night.

In the past, Hillbrow was synonymous with extreme violence, with many people being injured and its streets littered with garbage, furniture, rocks and stones, burning tyres and other items, such as fridges, thrown from windows.

Different scene

This year, however, the suburb was a different scene, except for a few broken bottles and other small items on the streets. This has been attributed to lockdown regulations and constant police visibility.

A handful of people were seen roaming the streets, but on seeing the police convoy, they quickly dashed into properties.

Many homeless people were seen sleeping under blankets, with only a few awake.

In many streets, police were greeted with whistles, vuvuzelas and ululation from residents applauding their presence.

Mawela said the operation was a success thanks to the cooperation of residents and their leaders.

'Mission accomplished'

"Here in Hillbrow, it is mission accomplished. What we wished to accomplish is peace, harmony and people enjoying [New Year's Eve] without violence. There is no war and we didn't have any conflict with residents.

"Last year, we were here and there were no challenges. Last year, there was no lockdown and people were jovial on the streets. They were out and mingling with us. We even entered some liquor outlets addressing patrons.

"Our recipe is continuous engagements with people. The role played by the Hillbrow Community Policing Forum is highly appreciated. They interact with people and warn residents that it is not in their interest to cause havoc. Working together with the community, surely we will have a peaceful Hillbrow," Mawela said.

Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela and his o
Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela and his officers look on as Hillbrow residents celebrate the new year indoors.
Gauteng police patrol the Johannesburg CBD on New
Gauteng police patrol the Johannesburg CBD on New Years eve, 31 December 2020.
Gauteng police patrol the Johannesburg CBD on New
Gauteng police patrol the Johannesburg CBD on New Years eve, 31 December 2020.

Some arrests made

By midnight, Gauteng police had arrested 94 people throughout the province. Most of the arrests were of people who contravened the Disaster Management Act.

"We have arrested nine people for drink and driving [and] one for the possession of unlicensed ammunition.

"On the West Rand, we have also arrested few people with unlicensed firearms and ammunition. We think for now we have achieved our objective. There is a hijacked vehicle that has been recovered. We think we have done very well," Mawela said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Will you continue to use WhatsApp following the company announcing a change terms of service which would force users to share personal data?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the terms of service do not bother me enough to switch
52% - 7607 votes
No, I will be switching over to a new service
44% - 6353 votes
I've never used WhatsApp
4% - 584 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo