The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has begun training another 500 Crime Prevention Wardens at its Dunnottar military base in line with Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s crime-busting effort.
Lesufi on the weekend on social media (X) said the latest batch of Crime Prevention Wardens (informally known as amaPanyaza) were “Ready to be handed over to the SANDF for proper training. Go and make us proud young men and women. We will fight crime in Gauteng and we mean it”.
The SANDF on Tuesday confirmed that its 1 Construction Regiment is hosting the Crime Prevention Wardens, with the regiment’s Lieutenant Betty Motlatsi reporting 485 wardens from the Gauteng provincial Department of Community Safety arrived at the Dunnottar SA Army Engineer Formation base for training on Sunday, 4 February.
The newcomers were recruited by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and will call the former SA Air Force (SAAF) Central Flying School home until 28 March.
“Department of Community Crime Prevention Warden Training Programme 01/2024 is immensely supported by the SA Army. The SA Army Engineer Formation as a tasked Formation, identified 1 Construction Regiment as the host unit for this programme,” the SANDF said.
The fledgling law enforcement officers will be exposed to and trained in discipline, knowledge of the “critical skills and development of individuals and social development”. They will also, according to Motlatsi, receive instruction on how to “bolster existing law enforcement officials in the fight against crime in communities”.
The newcomers were recruited in what apparently are five sectors – termed “corridors” – of South Africa’s economic hub. They are Tshwane (northern corridor), Ekurhuleni (eastern corridor), Johannesburg (central corridor), Vaal (southern corridor) and Randfontein (western corridor).
“No street or corner of our townships, informal settlements, CBD’s and hostels will not be policed. We are tired of criminals. A safer Gauteng shall rise! Less talk, more work! Thank you so much SANDF for this amazing opportunity,” Lesufi said on Monday.
The wardens were last year declared peace officers by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, meaning they will have the power of arrest and can carry a firearm.
According to a Justice and Correctional Services statement in December: “After conducting a thorough analysis of the applicable legal frameworks, it was determined that for the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens to exercise peace officer powers, they must assume the same legal status as Gauteng provincial traffic officers. Provincial traffic officers currently carry out their duties within the ambit of their peace officer designation, supported by the necessary legal framework.”
In May 2023, Gauteng deployed an initial 3 200 out of six thousand wardens to hotspots across the province following three months’ training.
The Gauteng Department of Community Safety on Wednesday said wardens continue to conduct patrols and compliance checks at scrapmetal yards and second hand goods shops, amongst others, to ensure the safety of consumers. In De-Deur, the wardens together with the Gauteng Traffic Police and South African Police Service members found three non-compliant scrapmetal yards, while in Rabie Ridge four scrapmetal yards were also found to be non-compliant. Fines were issued for failure to comply with the Second Hand Goods act.