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Granting ‘Amapanyaza’ police powers puts residents at risk: ActionSA

todayDecember 13, 2023 210

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ActionSA says the government’s decision to grant the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens legal police status is a complete disregard for the safety of residents and the wardens.

The Justice Department has designated the Crime Prevention Wardens ‘Amapanyaza” to exercise peace officer powers.

According to the department, the wardens, who were unveiled by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi in April, will now assume the same legal status as Gauteng provincial traffic officers.

Justice Department’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, says the provincial traffic officers currently carry out their duties within the ambit of their peace officer designation, supported by the necessary legal framework.

The Minister’s decision follows the Gauteng Police Commissioner, Elias Mawela’s recent revelation that the wardens were not peace officers and were not authorised to do any police work.

It has been met with mixed emotions, with some South Africans questioning whether the wardens have adequate training to carry out the duties of traffic officers.

ActionSA’s Funzi Ngobeni says this is another desperate attempt by the ANC to ensure that these wardens are recognised through the Criminal Procedures Act.

“The severe resource constraints and over politicisation of our police service have significantly hindered our law enforcement agencies’ ability to proactively prevent and respond to crime.”

The party has written to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate the establishment of the wardens.

Lesufi meanwhile maintains that the wardens are legal and a well-equipped law enforcement body that collaborates with other law enforcement authorities in Gauteng.

Police union, Popcru, has also welcomed the government’s decision, praising government’s alleged determination to prevent crime and safeguard the well-being of communities.

The “Amapanyaza” are no stranger to the headlines after it was reported that they crashed 22 brand new BMWs in just a few months of being in operation.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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