By Mosa Cibi
Amapanyaza was the name given to the brainchild of Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi’s crime prevention wardens (CPW). It was a project public knew nothing about before it was uncovered in April thus year but it’s the very tax payers that would end up footing the R450 million bill.
To put into context, Lesufi recruited, trained, financed from public funds and deployed the Gauteng CPWs before obtaining legal authorisation from the minister of justice under the Criminal Procedure Act. Therefore, there was no legal or constitutional authorisation for their operation.
Nonetheless, it was said that this task force was going to be “the boots on the ground” fighting crime helping the police. The crime busters even got a fleet of new vehicles so that they could get to crime scenes hassle-free.
The latest accounts from the residents of Diepsloot are that AmaPanyaza are now doing work in the Expanded Public Works Programme stream, a government initiative aimed at alleviating poverty by creating employment opportunities for unemployed South Africans. Residents of Diepsloot, however, lament that AmaPanyaza can often be seen in full uniform sweeping the streets or huddled up in groups at police stations “drinking tea”.
Lesufi, when pressed for comment, blocked one of our reporters on X (formerly Twitter). It would actually seem if you ask the premier for updates he will block you.
What most residents of Gauteng can vouch for is that, this task force has not stemmed crime. Crimes in the CBD continue unabated, with high of people getting robbed and murdered for their belongings.
In most residential areas and townships in Gauteng, innocent members of the public continue to be victims of violent crimes, be it murder, rape, or most commonly mugging (2022/23 Crime Statitiscs for Gauteng indicating a 7.1% increase in crime. And this begs the question; ‘where are AmaPanyaza? Where are the vehicles bought with state resources? What are they being used for?
These are questions from tax payers that Lesufi is retreating from answering, with his tail between his legs no doubt.