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Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens – premier Panyaza Lesufi responds to Daily Maverick’s reporting


Panyaza Lesufi is the Premier of Gauteng.

A quick review of Daily Maverick’s coverage of Gauteng’s Crime Prevention Wardens reveals that most of the accusations and claims made against them are overstated, political, contrived and speculative.

Daily Maverick’s articles attacking the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens (CPWs) serve as a timely reminder that in South Africa, mediocrity permeates all aspects of life, and that agenda-driven, biased media coverage not only poisons public discourse but also has the potential to harm community relations.

Poor journalism rarely provokes a response from me because it’s pointless. I’ve come to terms with the idea that some media outlets would rather appease their financial backers and their audience’s prejudices than focus on the truth. This is their prerogative.

However, a quick review of the wardens’ coverage in Daily Maverick reveals that most of the accusations and claims made against them are overstated, political, contrived and speculative.

Nothing new there; it has become standard practice for some in the media, in this country, to pronounce judgement first and apologise afterwards or never.

Any fair examination of their record on the streets shows that these magnified mistakes aren’t relevant to a just evaluation of their performance.

There is a distinction between examining a public institution critically by bringing up issues and exposing mistakes to hold it accountable and restore confidence, and cynically inciting public panic by relentlessly publishing one-sided attacks to discredit it.

Any hint of wrongdoing by wardens has been exaggerated and used to support the stereotype that they are ill-prepared and unaccountable by Daily Maverick in their coverage.

Anyone who knows these CPWs knows this is not a fair description of them. And any fair examination of their record on the streets shows that these magnified mistakes aren’t relevant to a just evaluation of their performance. Not to say that they are flawless, no one is – anything involving humans is imperfect.

The CPWs are a legal, well-equipped provincial law enforcement body that collaborates with other law enforcement organisations in the province. They operate under the supervision of other law enforcement agencies, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), Gauteng Traffic and local authorities.

They were not appointed in a vacuum but formed part of a comprehensive policing strategy against crime that was launched in the last State of the Province Address, where crime prevention was identified as one of the province’s elevated priorities.

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

The fight against crime has been undermined by a diminishing SAPS headcount and dwindling resources because of the country’s economic situation. This has seen the police-to-citizen ratio of Gauteng dropping to one officer for every 546 citizens.

Presently, Gauteng is home to 142 police stations and a total of 38,290 law enforcement personnel, including members of the SAPS, JMPD, EMPD, TMPD, Gauteng Traffic Police, Rand West, Merafong, Mogale City, Sedibeng, Emfuleni, Lesedi and Midvaal.

Since roughly 16 million people live in Gauteng, these law enforcement officers have the unenviable task of policing a growing population amid shrinking resources. Therefore, the creation of Crime Prevention Wardens directly addresses the need for a supplementary force to support the current law enforcement personnel in the province’s fight against crime.

The initial intake concentrated on 361 wards in the Township Informal Settlements (TISH) regions and will subsequently spread across the entire province. The criticism of the CPWs has focused on their competence, training, performance and overall legal standing.


Regarding training, the CPW curriculum consists of three months of theoretical work and ongoing practical fieldwork under the supervision of the Gauteng Traffic Police, Metro Police departments and the SAPS. Like all other law enforcement agencies, they are on the streets to continue with their training under the strict supervision of the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies.

The training the wardens receive from the abovementioned enforcement agencies includes various modules, including foot patrol, stop and tactical approach, approach and searches, evidence collection, docket completion, statement taking, scrap yard compliance, anti-land invasion, and critical infrastructure policing. This is the same training given to the province’s Metro Police units.

Community policing, police corruption prevention, use of force, personnel ethics, ethical policing and police brutality prevention are also covered in the training modules. Their education has received approval from the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body via the national Department of Transport. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng’s Crime Prevention Wardens were set up unlawfully, risk abuse of police powers – experts

When the training programme is complete, the Crime Prevention Wardens will be appointed in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Proclamation No. 103 of 1994), and designated as Peace Officers in terms of section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act No. 51 of 1994).

On oversight and accountability, any abuse of authority by the wardens is to be reported to the Public Service Commission by the public. The Risk Management Directorate, which oversees the investigation of allegations of fraud and corruption against the department’s law enforcement personnel, investigates complaints against the wardens internally.


Regarding their mandate, the CPWs work with various law enforcement agencies as part of concerted efforts to address crime in various corridors of the province. On their mandate, the CPWs have the mission to support law enforcement officers’ initiatives to combat crime. They ensure timely reaction to reported crimes and ensure police visibility at the ward level. They interact with community structures, provide early warning and gather information from the local population.

They have supported the police during drug patrols in townships, have provided security to strategic state installations to stop vandalism of state infrastructure, and have been at the forefront of policing zama zama activities and stopping cable theft. Additionally, they have been critical in stopping illegal land invasion.

Since the beginning of September alone, they have notched up some notable successes. On 1 September 2023, the CPWs, together with law enforcement agencies, conducted crime prevention duties at Dawn Park, Ekurhuleni, which included a roadblock that resulted in fines to the value of about R19,000 issued for contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

During the operation a Correctional Services official was arrested for unlawful possession of drugs. It is alleged that the drugs were to be smuggled into a Correctional Services facility.

Read more in Daily Maverick: New cadre of crime-busters? Gauteng’s Crime Prevention Wardens are doing little to combat crime, say residents

The CPWs continue to work with law enforcement agencies to fight the scourge of infrastructure vandalism. On 3 September 2023, the team discovered copper cables with an estimated street value of more than R90,000 in the Wadeville, Ekurhuleni, policing precinct. The law enforcement authorities confirmed that the 687kg of stolen copper cables belonged to City Power.

A male suspect was arrested, detained at the Elsburg police station, and appeared in the Germiston Magistrates’ Court on 4 September 2023 after being charged with unlawful possession of suspected stolen copper cables and contravention of the Second-Hand Goods Act 6 of 2009.

Ever since the deployment of wardens, the feelings of safety in Gauteng have improved drastically.

On the weekend of 9 September, the wardens and SAPS officers also found explosives in the Johannesburg and Springs CBDs and detained four individuals.  

The Gauteng Traffic Police Infrastructure Unit and the wardens conducted compliance checks in the Jeppestown policing precinct on 15 September 2023. They found 600kg of copper and engine parts, which were seized. 

The law enforcement agencies and Crime Prevention Wardens also made several arrests in several province-wide corridors. Among the offences, suspects were detained for drug selling and possession, illegal mining, violating the Liquor Act, theft of goods, assault to cause severe bodily damage, undocumented foreign nationals, seizure of illicit firearms, armed robbery and attempted murder.

These arrests were effected by various operations, including the multidisciplinary, high-density Operation Shanela led by the SAPS. Illegal firearms, illegal mining equipment, gold-bearing sand and explosives were confiscated. The wardens continue to police areas prone to illegal mining activities, such as Riverlea, Benoni and Matholesville in the Roodepoort policing precinct. Liquor outlets are continuously closed by wardens working with the police for noncompliance with the Liquor Act.

The unjustified demonisation of CPWs has the potential to… feed the deadly anti-police mentality we acquired from apartheid.

The multidisciplinary team is also recovering stolen vehicles, including those with tampered engines. The wardens have also ensured safety in schools. Unannounced school searches are conducted jointly with various law enforcement agencies to ensure that a high level of discipline is maintained, thus ensuring conducive learning and teaching.

Scores of suspects have been arrested by the CPWs jointly with other law enforcement agencies. Ever since the deployment of wardens, the feelings of safety in Gauteng have improved drastically. Their presence is felt in townships, informal settlements and hostels.

The Integrated Crime and Violence Prevention Strategy advocates a “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” integrated approach to crime and violence prevention, acknowledging that safety is not simply the SAPS’s responsibility.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Whistle-blower says Gauteng crime prevention wardens are unprepared and unqualified

The GPG has been growing its partnerships with community organisations and the business community to fight crime and make the most of all available resources.

These connections give residents and other social partners more influence over the policing of their neighbourhoods and help the police better understand their needs, which is why we value and cultivate them. Having stronger police-community interactions and reducing the public’s distrust of the police depend on this.

The unjustified demonisation of CPWs has the potential to undermine this effort and feed the deadly anti-police mentality we acquired from apartheid and have been working so hard to erase for years. This is what prompted my response.

Daily Maverick’s coverage morphed from fair public scrutiny into a manipulative, non-factual crusade to undermine the CPWs. Every crusade needs a devil, and they seem to have found one in the CPWs. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Denise Smit says:

    I would suggest DM move this article a little higher up so that the readers can lay their eyes on it. The writer has in his own words stated that he is training police officers in three months, because according to him they are doing what police officers does and has to power and competencies to do what they are doing. It is just amazing what powers they do not have? They do not have a “curriculum” but training subjects that have been approved, not “accredited” by any training body. Somehow the Department of Transport is involved in the training and appointment of these officers. I beg to agree with your take on the bad reputation of police officers. Some police officers of today are corrupt, they steal firearms, they are involved in illegal activities, they loose dockets, they treat abused women disgracefully or ignore them, they all acted unethically and with viscousness during Covid against the citizens of this country under their commander. This reputation they have earned for themselves has nothing to do with apartheid. And just think what will happen if they go unannounced into schools to conduct searches – pure Nazi terror – to improve discipline. Is this not the domain of the School authorities? You also refrain from answering what happened to the severely injured victim(s) of your peace officers. Of course for you it is only collateral damage for the cause. Show the papers in your article about the legality of this structure and where it
    fits into the system. It is easy, a document can be scanned. Denise Smit

  • William Dryden says:

    When the truth hurts, the denials and racism cards come out. Keep up the good work DM

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