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‘The innocent make it hard to tackle smash-and-grab hotspots’

Parks Tau says it will be difficult to differentiate between criminals and innocent people.

FILE: A screengrab of a recent smash-and-grab in Johannesburg. Picture: Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau has acknowledged it will be difficult to clear smash-and-grab hotspots of windscreen washers, beggars and street vendors as innocent people can't be arrested just to rid the streets of real criminals.

The new bylaw which will also make it illegal for motorists to support beggars or mini-entrepreneurs still needs to be passed by council.

Tau says it will be difficult to differentiate between criminals and innocent people who are trying to generate an income through creative initiatives.

"There's the risk that you go to the extreme and literally introduce a police state where everything leads to arrests."

He says, however, the current system still needs to be better regulated to make motorists feel safer on the roads.

"That doesn't mean we shouldn't have a controlled environment where people trade in appropriate places."

More than 400 beggars, windscreen washers and street venders have been removed from the smash-and-grab hotspots since the operation Ke Molao was launched in February.

WATCH: Windscreen washers: criminals or entrepreneurs?

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