Crime Wardens: ActionSA Presents Evidence Against “Amapanyaza” to SIU

ActionSA has, today, presented evidence and information it has gathered to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) against Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi’s notorious crime prevention wardens’ scheme.

In doing so we maintain the Premier of Gimmicks have far exceeded his mandate and is indeed acting outside the law.

We have consistently maintained our rejection of the government’s attempts to legalise Lesufi’s crime wardens, which is nothing more than a hurried scheme established for electoral campaign purposes.

The decision by the Minister for Justice and Correctional Services to gazette the wardens as traffic officers was reckless and will, inevitably, compromise the lives of our residents. This assertion is not without foundation, as the crime wardens have only received three months of training as opposed to the required three years traffic officers have to undergo.

Failure to take these measures means that the crime wardens, who have now been recognised as peace officers, are nothing more than Premier Lesufi’s private militia, which still lacks the authority to complete duties assigned to traffic officers.

When ActionSA takes over after the elections, we will:

– Rebuild our policing capacity to reverse the over-politicisation of our police services and address the severe constraints to resources. This will assist our law enforcement agencies to proactively respond to crime.

– Decentralise more functions to provincial police departments to empower context-based crime prevention and response.

– Instead of establishing illegal units, like Amapanyaza, ActionSA will invest in more police stations and introduce more mobile police infrastructure so that more people have access to police services.

– Restructure community policing forums through regulations that prevent politicisation, unfair and dangerous persecution, and abuse of power.

– Reduce VIP expenditure to a cap of 0.5% of the total policing budget and reallocate expenditure to visible policing and crime prevention.

Instead of focusing on doing the  above, this move by Lesufi and his ilk is a desperate attempt to ensure that these wardens are recognised under Section 334(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedures Act, 1977, which would justify their presence within our communities despite their incompetence and woefully insufficient training.

It must also be noted that even with the minimal training they have received, we are none the wiser as to which education and training authority has accredited the course.

This is a complete disregard for the safety of residents in Gauteng. The preponderance of evidence has all pointed to the entire programme being an electioneering tool used by the Premier and ruling government to secure votes ahead of the upcoming elections.

It was reported last year that allegedly 22 brand new BMWs had been crashed by the wardens since May, a month after the scheme’s inception, and furthermore, SAPS Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Elias Mawela, has recently declared that the wardens had no authority to fulfil tasks assigned to the police, which include the certifying of documents as Commissioners of Oath.

ActionSA has constantly reiterated that the entire scheme is a mere gimmick, which has placed not only the wardens lives at risk but also residents as inadequately trained individuals have been unlawfully authorised to protect communities. This can be, and should be, seen as state-sanctioned vigilantism.

We will continue to ensure that the rule of law is applied to bring an end to corruption, which has come to characterise our country. The safety of our residents cannot be jeopardised at the expense of greed and unchecked ambition.