Lesufi’s Crime “Prevention” Wardens unlawfully appointed, untrained and unchecked – Action Society

Action Society called for the immediate dismantlement of Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s so called Crime Prevention Wardens (CPW) initiative and a formal investigation into the unlawful way the unit was established, the negligent appointment process of the so called wardens, insufficient training and the shocking lack of oversight following various reports of unlawful and violent activities by members of the unit. Action Society also demands that the cost incurred to establish and run this unlawful unit, must be recovered from Lesufi himself.

“Lesufi’s only track record in public office is one of operational negligence and wasteful expenditure and mismanagement. For example, when he was the Gauteng MEC for Education, he forced schools to admit learners for which the schools did not have the language capacity and lost the case in court, costing taxpayers unnecessary money. During the Covid-pandemic, the Gauteng Department of Education, under his leadership, wasted R431-million for inexperienced companies to decontaminate public schools even though not required in the government guidelines.”

“Action Society welcomes workable initiatives to combat crime, but this reeks of a very expensive publicity stunt to gain political support in which Lesufi created 6000 ‘jobs’. These wardens are not doing anything to prevent crime. In fact they are a seemingly unmanaged hoard of vigilante’s who are abusing their ‘status’ of ‘warden’ to bully communities and act criminally themselves,” says Ian Cameron, Director of Community Safety at Action Society.

The so called ‘wardens’ are conducting illegal searches and seizures, physically assaulting residents, and acting in contravention of the law. Civilians who attempted to report the unit were met with threats, strengthening the growing perception that we are entering a police state where civilians fear the police who act with impunity. Trust in the police is already low, and they have shown that they are willing to act with force and violence to stamp their authority.

“In fact, we believe that they pose a real danger to the community and themselves. Whistleblowers who have come forward regarding the training that the ‘wardens’ attended are worrying. There is no record of who attended the training, as there were no registers of attendants and even those who attended are still ill-equipped to carry out duties. Shockingly, it is reported that the R1.5-billion budget allocated for this project includes rifles and pistols.”

Action Society demand answers for the following questions:

  1. Were CPW candidates screened for previous criminal offences?
  2. What was the content of their training?
  3. Who will be held legally responsible if this unit contravenes the law at any point?
  4. Who is in command?
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