WATCH: Lesufi urges Gauteng crime prevention wardens to ‘fight fire with fire’
'You can shoot when the enemy shoots at you,' says the premier.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi inspects the pass out parade of new crime prevention wardens, on 4 June 2023, at Tsakane Stadium in Ekurhuleni. Picture: Michel Bega/The Citizen
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi yesterday called on 2 000 newly trained crime prevention wardens to “shoot when the enemy shoots at you”.
Lesufi has also promised Gauteng residents 12 000 new jobs between June and July, and that the government will be employing people every month.
Crime Prevention Wardens
He was speaking at Tsakane Stadium where the Gauteng government introduced the 2 000 new crime prevention wardens yesterday.
This is an addition to the 3 000 wardens who were deployed last month to assist law enforcement in fighting crime.
The project is also aimed at reducing youth unemployment in the province. Lesufi said they had concluded the training of wardens, who were ready to carry weapons, and would be releasing weapons to those who have passed.
“You can shoot when the enemy shoots at you. You will be trained every day, every month, every year so that those who think we have rushed you can eat humble pie,” he said.
“We will deploy you all where our people need protection. The days where people mug people and go to taxi ranks are gone. Gone are the days when our children fear going to school because they are bullied.
“Gone are the days when they sell drugs; their days are numbered. Gone are the days when they sell rotten food to our people in spaza shops, gone are the days where people are scared of gunshots at night.
“We are releasing you to protect our communities – all of them.
“After we have trained and resourced you, there will be no lawlessness in Gauteng. You are now fully equipped to go and fight crime in our province.”
200 cars and six helicopters
Lesufi said the wardens would also be equipped with 200 cars and six helicopters to help them fight crime.
“These helicopters are going to direct you to where criminals are so that you can go there and take out those criminals wherever they are hiding.
“This is an integrated crime prevention plan that includes the highest form of technology. The first form of technology is to install CCTVs in all our townships in Gauteng.
“We are proud to announce that the first township to receive CCTVs, which are now connected, is Diepsloot. We are taking them to all our townships so that no one commits crime without us seeing that particular individual,” Lesufi said.
“You are not going to be doing your work alone. We are deploying almost 180 drones that will search the place first so that by the time you arrive, you know the nature of the crime you are going to fight to prevent releasing you to criminals that are heartless.”
Lesufi also took a jab at those who criticised the government with its initiative of the wardens, calling it a waste of money.
“We want to respond to them and say this decision to establish 6 000 wardens is not a waste of money. Ask the almost 300 people that have been searched, arrested and taken to police stations since they were established as the peace force,” Lesufi said.
“I want to say to those who say the wardens are a waste of money to go to the families of these young people and say to them ‘are you still begging for money? Are you still begging for supper?’
“They will respond that these young people are bringing in salaries and they are permanently employed. “Five months ago, these young people were on a long list of unemployed people – but six months later, they are permanently employed.”
Budget for crime fighting wardens
Speaking to the media, Lesufi refused to say how much the government was spending on the wardens.
“We are spending lots of money,” he said, as it was a task that was ongoing. But he said the expenditure was within the Gauteng government’s budget.
Meanwhile, Lesufi told the packed stadium that the government was ready to create new jobs in different sectors of the province.
“We are ready to employ you in Gauteng. On 16 June, we will open up 8 000 new permanent jobs to fight poverty.
“On 8 July, we will be advertising 6 000 new posts in Gauteng so that we don’t only fight crime but we fight poverty,” he said.
“We will ensure that our people get jobs every month. We will ensure that our townships are no longer places of crime and that life in the townships gets better.”
Chair of the Gauteng Provincial Community Board TJ Masilela called on wardens not to disappoint when they take up their new posts.
“This time next year, we should be proud to be law enforcers. Some areas will be volatile, but let us squeeze the criminals.”