A commitment by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi when he took office in October last year to fight crime, lawlessness and vandalism in South Africa’s economic heartland took effect this week with the first deployment of crime prevention wardens (CPWs).
The provincial government deployed 3 200 out of six thousand wardens to hotspots “across the province” on Monday (1 May) following three months’ training. The balance will complete training and be deployed at the end of May.
The provincial number one is reported as saying the wardens will be in townships, informal settlements and hostels to ensure the safety and security of residents.
The recruitment drive for the latest addition to South Africa’s league of law enforcement agencies which broadly includes the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), SA Police Service (SAPS), Border Management Authority (BMA) and Western Cape’s law enforcement advancement programme (LEAP), saw 21 000 applications received.
The CPWs will strengthen existing law enforcement in the fight against crime at ward level, the provincial government said, adding, “they will use e-Policing solutions such as drones and helicopters to eliminate criminal elements”.
“Their deployment in hotspot areas forms part of targeted crime prevention operations to deter and detect criminal activities and squeeze the space for criminals to operate. These interventions contribute to the reduction of serious crimes,” it said further.
The CPWs are recognised as peace officers in accordance with section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. Their powers extend to arresting without a warrant, obtaining names and addresses, execution of warrants and they may appear in court as witnesses.