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WAR IN WORDS

‘Your days are numbered’ – Gauteng premier launches extraordinary attack on Police(?)/Justice(?) minister

‘Your days are numbered’ – Gauteng premier launches extraordinary attack on Police(?)/Justice(?) minister
From left: Premier of Gauteng Panyaza Lesufi. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | Police Minister Bheki Cele. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu) | Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. (Photo: Ntswe Mokoena / GCIS)

Addressing a meeting of the South African National Civic Organisation in Johannesburg on Sunday, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi told an unnamed Cabinet minister, presumably Minister of Police Bheki Cele, who was not present, ‘Your days are numbered.’ Cele’s spokesperson denied the premier was referring to him.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s threats to Minister of Police Bheki Cele, made during a speech he delivered at the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) congress on Sunday, 12 November, were the latest in the controversy surrounding his unlawful budgeting, appointment and deployment of 6,000 Crime Prevention Wardens across Gauteng, before getting legal authorisation in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.

The Act allows the appointment of “peace officers”, with wide-ranging powers, but only after a formal request to and consultation between the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the Minister of Police. The authorisation must then be published in the Government Gazette.

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

Lesufi told the Sanco conference, “We have trained these young people to be police wardens. You, as a police minister, are refusing to recognise them.”

Wagging his fingers and to loud applause from Sanco delegates, he said, “Your days are numbered.” 

@siphodibakwaneyour days are numbered♬ original sound – Sipho Dibakwane

Lesufi continued: “We can’t, when young people are assisting us to fight crime you want to undermine them. You can’t when we have trained young people to be on the streets in our townships and protect our young people when they are studying at night in our schools, you don’t want to recognise them.

“We say to this minister, give us the power for these young people to have the power to get guns so that they protect our townships and chase away criminals in our own areas.

And we are committed to that.”

Lesufi appears to be referring to the fact that a request made by the Gauteng government to Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola on 23 June 2023 has still not been granted.

According to Lamola, the appointment of peace officers requires “a formal request and approval of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, in consultation with the Minister of Police before permission can be granted and subsequently published in the Gazette.”

Lamola’s spokesperson says he is discussing the request with the Minister of Police.

The Minister of Police, in the meantime, when questioned in public, appears to be distancing himself from the project.

That may not be surprising. Policing experts have warned that this is unlikely to be a successful strategy for combating crime in Gauteng, where there are close to 500 murders a month.

They have particularly warned against arming Crime Prevention Wardens, which they argue would make wardens a target for violent criminals and gun theft. Investigations by Daily Maverick have also revealed poor and inadequate training of the wardens and a lack of proper screening in their recruitment.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng Crime Prevention Warden says Lesufi ‘misinformed’     

Daily Maverick approached the spokesperson for the Minister of Police, Lirandzu Themba, who asked “Are you referring to the clip circulating? Which minister is he (Premier Lesufi) referring to, as there are over 30 ministers in Cabinet.”

When it was suggested in reply that it was clearly the minister of police, her response was: “No, to the minister of police, it is not. Hence he’s asking which one out of the 30 ministers is being referred to.”

The only other minister it might refer to is the minister of justice. His spokesperson was not willing to comment.

The premier’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said, “The premier attended the congress as the chair of the ANC. Please direct your questions to the Gauteng ANC office.”

“Whatever the premier articulates in his capacity as the chair of the ANC is representative of the posture of the organisation and they are better placed to answer the question. There is a separation between government and the party as the media likes to point out.”

Daily Maverick requested comment from the Gauteng ANC, which hadn’t responded at the time of writing.

Lesufi clearly wants his amaPanyaza. However, a premier does not have the legal power to remove a national minister, who is appointed by the President, so Lesufi’s threat is a hollow one in law. It might, however, point to a campaign by the ANC in Gauteng to remove Cele, a sign of further factional infighting, which leaves criminals on the streets and not in jail. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Denise Smit says:

    Lesufi is an EFF buddy and his actions are the same and sounds the same as the supreme leaders’ “We will remove the Ramaphosa if we come into power”. Are the two planning something together? Not surprised, they are made out of the same material. Denise Smit

  • Nic Bosveld says:

    A sight to behold when rogues fall out.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    There is no difference between Cele and Lesufi. They are both political prostitutes.

  • Josie Rowe-Setz says:

    Giving those kids guns?

    • Janet Sully says:

      And expect them to only shoot when threatened??? Goodness me, how ridiculous are our ministers. These youngsters need another 18 months of proper training before being allowed to handle weapons of any sort. There has already been scandal surrounding them and how they are beating up people – now give them guns??? Craziness.

  • William Kelly says:

    Give them guns eh? What could possibly go wrong? Is Lesufi that deranged that he wants yet more guns on the streets to create more murders and mayhem and armed robberies so that the solution is more peace wardens with more guns? Yes, I think that he is that out of touch that in fact in his addled brain this is a perfectly viable solution. What a muppet.

  • mikep4643 says:

    This is starting to look like the green bombers in Zimbabwe who do the bidding of ZANU PF in intimidating people come elections

  • steve woodhall says:

    This is a dangerous situation and reminiscent of the police in places like Cameroon where the government’s failure to pay the police (or deal with their corruption) led to them being disbanded and a new organisation set up. The previous one refused to take that lying down and started funding themselves by setting up roadblocks on all roads in and out of towns, and shaking down motorists and truck drivers.

  • Son of Man says:

    Lesufi is a grandstander and not a statesman.

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    Gutter politics at its best. Both are supposedly ANC so please do not expect much adult behaviour. An election around the corner and these idiots are intent on sweeping up B”S. Wait till the pre- election killings start.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    “….so that they protect our townships and chase away criminals in our own areas.”

    Can someone ask Lesufi what he means by ‘our own areas’? ANC areas? Largely Black areas? Gauteng areas? Where should these criminals be chased to (note he never says anything about, you know, actually arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning criminals – way too difficult for an ANC regime)? Should they be chased to DA areas? Formerly white areas? Limpopo areas?

    Lesufi is a dangerous populist and hugely ambitious – with almost no skill at all, and no determination to do things the hard way, so populism and race are his calling cards – very much like the EFF.

  • Con Tester says:

    In view of the voluminous evidence of nearly 30 years’ worth of ANC deployments, it’s abundantly clear that by far the gravest danger of arming these so-called Crime Prevention Wardens is that they themselves would then almost instantly fall into a life of crime.

    As for the claim that there “is a separation between government and the [ANC],” the correct response is, “Really?!” Go on, pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.”

    All of that apart, Lesufi is the ANC’s second-biggest blowhard, a short distance behind arch-windbag Fikile “Mr Fix Fokkol” Mbalula.

  • Pieter van de Venter says:

    Will the ANC spokesperson also reckon that the media misunderstood Panyaza??

  • Winston Bigsby says:

    Seems like there’s an endless supply of Fikile clones? Why give them airtime?

  • Art Gee says:

    My question is…
    How susceptible are these young “peace officers” to bribery??
    To them, R10 offered, is R10 they never had!!
    Traffic officials makes thousands on the Friday morning roadblocks, for weekend “cool drinks”… What prevents these youngsters of doing the same???

  • Mark Egerton says:

    I think that is great to have an additional, visible crime fighting agency, but was it necessary to equip them with brand new BMW 320 sedans and brand new BMW X5 SUV’s? Where is all of this budget coming from?

  • Joe Soap says:

    Sounds like Lusufi did not follow procedure and possibly broke the law, maybe his days are numbered. Let’s hope so, hell lets hope the ANC’s days are numbered.

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