South Africa News

Gauteng top cop issues directive over ‘amaPanyaza’, says they’re not police officers

In another blow to Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s crime prevention wardens – popularly known as ‘amaPanyaza’ – the province’s top cop issued a directive this week that community wardens were not allowed to undertake any police duties at police stations.

This comes after Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said they had been notified that the community crime prevention wardens, which were established by Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko in February, were now certifying documents and performing the duties of peace officers at some stations.

Over 6,000 wardens were appointed to fight crime in communities earlier this year, spending three months training on a farm in Cullinan, Pretoria.

Mawela reminded SA Police Service (SAPS) officers and commanders in Gauteng that the wardens were not peace officers and were not authorised to certify any documents.

Gauteng police spokespersons confirmed the document was circulated internally.

The document has been leaked on social media recently.

In the circular dated November 22, 2023, Mawela said it had been brought to his attention that ‘amaPanyaza’ were acting as Commissioner of Oaths at police stations and community service centres.

“Crime Prevention Wardens are not people who are authorised to certify documents or attest a document by applying the oath of a Commissioner of Oath, as they are not Peace Officers and therefore lack the legal authority to do the same.

“National Instruction 10 of 2020: Attestation of statements and authentication of documents are very clear that only SAPS members in the SC are allowed to authenticate documents or do the Attestation of the Commissioner of Oath.

“No commander may, under any circumstances, allow the Crime Prevention Warden to perform any duty that’s assigned to a member of the SAPS,” said Mawela in the circular.

The internal circular comes just days after Lesufi came under fire when he threatened to deal with ministers who were blocking the Crime Prevention Wardens from being issued with firearms.

“We have trained these young people to be police wardens. You, as minister, are refusing to recognize them; your days are numbered. You can’t undermine young people when they want to assist us in fighting crime.

“We are saying to this minister, Give us the power for these young people to have the power to get guns so that they can protect our townships and chase away criminals,” Lesufi said.

The salvo appeared to be aimed at Police Minister Bheki Cele or/and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

Lesufi has since apologized for the remarks.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department has said the matter is being looked at.

-IOL News

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