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Compiled by Getrude Makhafola

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‘AmaPanyazas’ crash 22 state BMWs – report

Three of the 22 BMWs crashed by AmaPanyaza have been written off.

Gauteng crime prevention wardens have crashed at least 22 of the 200 BMWs issued to them to help fight crime.

The wardens are the brainchild of Premier Panyaza Lesufi, and are referred to as ‘AmaPanyazas’ by Gauteng residents.

Three cars have been written off, and 11 are being repaired, the Sunday Times reported.

At least eight others are being assessed for damages, Department of Community Safety spokesperson, Ofentse Morwane told the publication.

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Morwane said like any motorist, the wardens are not immune to accidents.

“Law enforcement officials are not immune to road accidents, particularly because they have to cautiously use high levels of speed when conducting high-density operations and patrols. 

“However, the department does not condone reckless, irresponsible driving of state vehicles,” Morwane was quoted.

‘Supplementary force’

Lesufi’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the wardens were “students.”

“That is why you find them at the police station.

“They are not empowered to do anything by themselves at all. If you see them on the street, you are likely to see Gauteng traffic police with them.

“That is why the province is calling them a supplementary force. They are not replacing the police,” he told the publication.

But the SAPS has distanced itself from the wardens, saying they are not fully equipped to help fight crime.

Police top brass in Gauteng say the wardens are not police officers and therefore cannot take up police duties.

Neither are they allowed to use firearms.

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This came after reports that some were certifying documents at police stations, a task done by those authorised by the commissioner of oaths to do so.

Lesufi’s election strategy?

The controversial crime wardens are part of Lesufi’s ‘Nas’spane’ job creation scheme.

However, many are adamant that the premier’s job creation efforts are just an electioneering strategy for the ANC ahead of the 2024 elections.

Armed with X1, X3 and 3 Series BMWs, six helicopters, and CCTV technology and motorbikes, the wardens were first launched in May, at a cost of R450 million.

More wardens are expected to be trained after Lesufi promised residents that his government would employ people every month, despite budget concerns and the lack of adequate training.

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