Living In the Dirty Overcrowded City of Crime

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On 17 February 2023, Karibu went out to the streets Hillbrow, Johannesburg and surrounding areas, to do a questionnaire. The aim was to understand what it is like to be a resident or visitor in the city of Joburg where there is overcrowding, crime and a lot of dumping areas in each and every corner. Johannesburg is one of the largest and famous cities of South Africa, and it is also becoming infamous for its crime and dirtiness around the CBD.

People come to Joburg for different reasons; some for leisure, others are here for better opportunities. Some do business, there are immigrants whilst others are just try to survive on the back of others through criminal activities. Mme Malebo Malefane from Lesotho who is a street vendor selling pillows in Goud Street said, “all of us are here in the city to make a living,” and added, “even though others live from others.” The streets are not safe for vendors and anyone else who uses the streets because there is a lot of pollution and here is one place where you find three forms of pollutions all at once. There is noise, land and air pollution which also affects people who use the streets.

Crime in Johannesburg increase due to the fact that people think there is a lot of money in the CBD. Unfortunately for many, when they arrive in Johannesburg CBD they find that there is a high level of unemployment and they are unable to make ends meet forcing them to resort to crime. This vicious phenomenon leads to overcrowding because people find various ways of making a living which includes crime. Thato Thamakga* who works at Fashion District said that it is difficult for them because they are often called to deal with people who are littering, peeing on the walls or breaking into other people’s cars.

“Johannesburg was better under the apartheid government,” said an old man who asked to remain anonymous.

This article is an opinion piece submitted on 17 February 2023. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Karibu! Online or Khanya College. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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