Maverick Citizen


Whistle-blower says Gauteng crime prevention wardens are unprepared and unqualified

Whistle-blower says Gauteng crime prevention wardens are unprepared and unqualified
Vehicle patrol stop and searches were conducted in Fochville, Tarlton and Bekkersdal. (Photo: Facebook / Gauteng Department of Community Safety) | Premier of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | Logo of Crime Prevention Wardens. (Photo: Twitter / Gauteng Department of Community Safety)

Questions are mounting about the quality of training given to Panyaza Lesufi’s crime prevention wardens — are they ready for Gauteng’s violent streets?

In ongoing revelations around Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi’s unlawfully established crime prevention wardens (CPW), new evidence from a whistle-blower suggest that the wardens’ training programme was poorly managed, carried out by people without the necessary competencies and completely insufficient to equip them with the skills and knowledge they require to perform in a dangerous and difficult environment.

Last week, Daily Maverick reported on the allegedly unlawful way in which Lesufi and his government had established the crime prevention wardens, also known as the “amaPanyaza”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens set up unlawfully — experts

We also reported on an incident in which a young man was brutally attacked in his home by a group of CPWs, and beaten almost to death. Neither report has been contradicted by the Gauteng government.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘They started beating me, kicking me’ – Lesufi’s Gauteng crime prevention wardens accused of brutal assault


Today we can report that following our article on the assault, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate has taken a statement from the victim and an official from the Department of Community Safety has visited him. The terrified victim still fears for his life and is awaiting major operations for the injuries he sustained.

In an initial response to questions by Daily Maverick, Lesufi’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, “reassured citizens that the wardens have undergone intensive training to perform their duties effectively” and that “the programme entails continuous training of the wardens on various modules”.

Pamla said “the training modules for the wardens include community policing, prevention of police corruption, use of force, personnel ethics, ethical policing, prevention of police brutality, foot patrols, approach and searches, evidence collection, docket completion and statement taking, to name a few”.

In June this year, answering a journalist from The Citizen who raised questions about the training of the CPWs, Lebogang Lukhele, spokesperson for Faith Mazibuko, the MEC for Community Safety, said the “crime prevention wardens were also trained on the Russian drill by the Royal Eswatini Police Service as part of the department’s long-standing relations and sharing of best practices”.

Whistle-blower speaks out

However, based on what we have been told by a whistle-blower, it now appears that the CPW training programme was cobbled together to meet deadlines set by Premier Lesufi and was poorly managed and too superficial to properly prepare members for the jobs assigned to them.

The whistle-blower (a person with direct knowledge of the training programme) told us that in February 2023, a group of nine retired trainers from the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) training college in Zonderwater had been recruited to carry out the training.

The whistle-blower alleged that these trainers taught mostly “physical exercise and drill”, and were supplemented by members of the traffic department who gave recruits “a smallanyana police course”.

According to the whistle-blower, “Not one of the CPWs has a certificate of training. Not one knows how to search, write a docket or how to arrest.”

Other claims include that:

  • The CPW recruitment process was flawed, carried out through wards by leaders of community policing forums – “If you were not in the ANC you were not part of it.”
  • Not all of the recruits met the requirements that were advertised, and although trainers had wanted to turn some away, they were not allowed to.
  • During the training, there were no registers of trainees or information about them and their qualifications.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng’s Crime Prevention Wardens are doing little to combat crime, say residents

According to our source, the training took place between March and June 2023 at the Castle Inn resort, east of Pretoria near Cullinan in Gauteng.

However, it appears there were issues with the training from the very beginning. For example, the whistle-blower has provided Daily Maverick with correspondence between a senior official of the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and an official in charge of the training.

In a 15 February email, in which MEC Faith Mazibuko is copied, the departmental official tells the training official that he wants to formalise his “concerns” about “the instructors” being used by the department “without a contract”, and recommends (again) that “accredited instructors” be hired, pointing out how the “department has exposed itself to serious risks”.

A day later, the training official responded in an email in which he admitted that “the instructors are working without a contract or any formal agreement with the Department”. 

MEC Mazibuko is copied in this email, too. 

In his defence, the training official claims that the DCS instructors are “recognised by Sasseta [the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority]” and that they were only drawn into the programme after the SAPS “reneged” on an agreement “to assist us with the training facility as well as facilitators”.

This, he writes, necessitated coming up “with an impromptu solution to ensure that the project doesn’t fail due to time frames that we had to meet as per the Premier’s pronouncement of which we all knew that the MEC had to meet”.

Most worrying among the claims in the official’s email are that the retired DCS instructors “are here with a very clear conscience of contributing to the ruling party targeting the 2024 elections, as all of them are active members of the ruling party”.

His email adds that while he “might have not followed the proper internal processes in bringing them on board… from where I’m standing, someone had to take unpopular decisions and I take responsibility for that.”

Last week, Daily Maverick sent questions to both the department and the training official about these emails, which we enclosed for them to verify. The departmental official did not deny the email came from him and simply referred our questions to the communications department of the Department of Community Safety.

Lesufi’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said he had received a “disturbing report” that we had “sent media enquiries to department technocrats”, requesting that all questions go through the communications department, but he did not address the content of the email. The official in charge of training has not responded.

Questions answered

On 31 August, as we started investigating the whistle-blower’s claims, Daily Maverick sent a further set of questions addressed jointly to the Premier’s office and the Department of Community Safety.

The questions were acknowledged the same day by Lebogang Lukhele, spokesperson for the MEC: “We will respond as soon as possible as per your requested timeline”. However, a response was only received from Sizwe Pamla on Saturday, 9 September. 

In this response, the Department of Community Safety stated: “More than 3,000 wardens” have undergone an intensive three-month training “to ensure that they are able to perform their duties effectively”.

The training is said to be ongoing and takes place under the supervision of the Gauteng Traffic Police, Metro Police departments and the South African Police Service and is “administered by the Metropolitan Police Departments academies and the Road Traffic Management Cooperation”.

In response to our question about whether wardens received a certificate on completion of training, Pamla said: “A sample of their certificates can be obtained from these agencies.”

However, a warden we spoke to said that they didn’t get a certificate, “but if you got a mark of 50% and above, you were told that you had passed the course and they would reach out to you soon about deployment.”

Finally, Pamla said the training “is accredited by the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body” – without indicating which one – “through the National Department of Transport.”

All the information made public about the course was sent to Sasseta, the body legally established to accredit training courses in the safety and security sector, to establish whether it is accredited.

However, despite being helpful in responding to our questions, Mpho Majatladi, the marketing and communications manager, responded: “We are unable to confirm if it’s a Sasseta-accredited course from just the description you have provided i.e. Peace Officer or Crime Prevention Officer/warden.”

She requested “more course information e.g. the course unit standard etc.”

According to our source, this is because “if a course is Sasseta-accredited, it must have a ‘unit standard name and code’. But this one doesn’t have, that’s why these wardens don’t have certificates.”

Questions we posed to Pamla about the cost of the training were ignored. 

Other responses

Last week on SAfm, anchor Stephen Grootes interviewed the chairperson of the Gauteng Community Police Board, TJ Masilela, who defended the programme, but evaded questions about its legality.

Listen to the podcast here: Mediated Conversation: How effective are the Gauteng Crime Wardens? – SAfm Sunrise – 

Finally, we once again sought comment from Chrispin Phiri, spokesperson for the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, about whether the minister would have oversight concerning the proper training of GCPW. 

Phiri replied: “That is the purpose of the consultation with SAPS. SAPS must advise on such matters.” Consultations with SAPS are apparently ongoing.

To date, a Government Gazette sanctioning the appointment of 6,000 crime prevention wardens in Gauteng has still not been published. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Murder, mayhem and fighting crime in Gauteng – what’s all the fuss about the amaPanyaza?


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • T Mac says:

    I fear that this is the start of an election result enforcement group ala ZanuPF in Zimbabwe…

    • Henning Swanepoel says:

      Very interesting observation and come to think of it, makes absolute sense! The ANC will become desperate and Cyril “Julied” endorsed the Zimbabwe elections. Concerning indeed.

  • Denise Smit says:

    This poor training officer is in biggggg trouble with the ANC/EFF. Denise Smit

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    Panyaza Lesufi must be held personally accountable for anything this mob gets up to. Hopefully a decent lawyer out there (yes, there are some! No, I’m not a lawyer) will take up the case for the guy who was beaten so badly and lay GBH or even attempted murder charges against Lesufi for this clearly illegal violation of our rights. It’s also abundantly clear from the evasive responses (or lack of responses) that Lesufi, his spokesperson and everyone else involved in simply trying to weather the storm until a jucier story hits the headlines (probably only 12 to 24 hours away). Please, Mark, don’t let this one go – pursue it with vigour so that we don’t have 6,000 illegal personal thugs of Lesufi running around our province.

  • William Kelly says:

    And when Panyaza runs out of money to pay these deployees? What could possibly go wrong?

  • Confucious Says says:

    Unqualified and untrained government workers??? Surely not?!?!

  • The Flying Scotsman says:

    Sounds like Panyaza may be creating his own band of ‘Brown-shirts’ before the 2024 elections

  • Matthew Hall says:

    Their very existence is an affront. Who gives a about their training or lack thereof? They shouldn’t have been hired / formed / organized in the first place. Disband this paramilitary group immediately.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    And yet the Kommandos looking after farming communities were deemed a danger and disbanded overnight? Hypocrisy much?

  • Graeme J says:

    Why am I not surprised? In fact I think I am going to die of not surprised.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    It looks like this unlawful mob are there, not for law enforcement, but are going to be used for something else. Reminds me of the secret police in some South American countries and Hitler’s thugs

  • Luyanda Mgwexa says:

    This is an ANC and Lesufi Employment Scheme for Unemployed Volunteers and Branch members

  • Bernhard Scheffler says:

    R4 billion to train 6 000 means 2/3 of a million per trainee. How much of these taxpayer funds were diverted corruptly — to fund the anc election campaign?

    A clear case of massive illegal abuse, especially considering that the police refused to train these anc members. What competencies do correctional service employees have for police work??

  • Michael Thomlinson says:

    Going back to the history books, this sounds a little like Hitler’s Brown shirts. This is setting a very dangerous precedent.

  • Con Tester says:

    As per other commenters’ views, this looks a lot like like Panyaza Lesufi—always a blowhard of prodigious talent—has his sights set on becoming SA’s president in the next-but-one election cycle. One obvious way of getting to that exalted post is to secure a win for the Avaricious Narcissistic Cabal (ANC) in Gauteng.

  • Roelf Pretorius says:

    Do SA still even have a constitution? And if we have, why is the ANC blatantly ignoring its requirements? And why is the leadership of the ANC not doing anything about it? The Constitution clearly says that SA has ONE police force. That means that Lesufi’s vigilante force is completely illegitimate. So why does the national government then not assist both the Gauteng and Western Cape governments in changing the Constitution to decentralise the police force to provincial level, while the standards, training and specialized units are still done at national level? According to me it is the perfect way to actually also purge the police of all the corrupt elements in it. But that apparently every Tom Dick & Harry that is an ANC politician is allowed to go on the rampage, creating paramilitary forces that serve their own interest is very, very alarming. Does the ANC want to create another Ethyopia here in South Africa? And where are the opposition parties that they don’t take action against this?

  • T'Plana Hath says:

    Do you want a Sturmabteilung? Because this is how you get a Sturmabteilung. All we need now are some nice Brown Shirts and maybe some armbands with a funky logo on it, or something…

  • Richard Robinson says:

    Smells like the apartheid regime’s Kitkonstabels.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz