Second round of AmaPanyaza training underway at three SA Army units

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The current impasse bedevilling the Gauteng provincial executive appears not to have affected Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s plans to train crime prevention wardens at SA Army bases and units.

In February he used social media to make known the provincial crime prevention wardens (CPWs), an initiative to curb crime in South Africa’s economic hub, would undergo military training ahead of deployment.

That saw young men and women – speedily becoming known as ‘AmaPanyaza’ – recruited across Gauteng reporting for training at the SA Army Engineer Formation base at Dunnottar on Gauteng’s Far East Rand and 3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion, the specialist Infantry Formation training unit in Kimberley. During eight week stints under the eagle eyes of military instructors, the nascent crime fighters were put through a revised version of basic military training (BMT) with the emphasis on discipline mainly by way of parade ground drill. Other training took in firearm use, radio procedure, crowd control and first aid as well as search and rescue.

A second round of AmaPanyaza training is currently underway at the Kimberley unit, which goes by the nickname of the Griffons, and the nearby 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment in the landward force Armour Formation. At the same time as around 800 CPWs had their first taste of Army life, in the Northern Cape province another 360 were temporarily taken onto the strength of 4 Artillery Regiment in Potchefstroom, North West province, for eight weeks.

Acting 3 SAI Officer Commanding, reported only as Colonel Mothongwane by Private Nkululeko Chonga, is “determined” to “transform the newly recruited CPWs into professional crime fighters with the highest combat capabilities”.

In May 2023, Gauteng deployed an initial 3 200 out of six thousand wardens to hotspots across the province following three months’ training.