Gauteng announces interventions to tackle crime

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has placed crime fighting at the top of the provincial government’s agenda, announcing interventions aimed at strengthening efforts to deal with the high levels of crime.

“So the issue of fighting crime should be our apex priority. We should unleash all our resources at our disposal to tackle crime. To this end, we are increasing our budget of fighting crime from R750 million to multi-billion in the next three years,” Lesufi said on Monday in Johannesburg.

Delivering his State of the Province Address in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, he said the interventions will be implemented from 1 April 2023 and 1 May 2023.

“We will start to connect suburbs, townships, business districts, schools and other public places with high tech, face and car recognition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

“We will arm our residents with e-Panic buttons that will be linked to our law enforcement agencies, CCTVs and our new state of the art Integrated Command Centre.

“We will unveil two new helicopters at the beginning of the next financial year and add four additional helicopters within the 2023/2024 budget cycle,” Lesufi said.

The private security industry has pledged to add theirs as well to the pool of helicopters for patrolling.

“To ensure that our police are not sacrificial lambs in the battles with criminals, we are at an advanced stage to procure 180 state of the art drones that will infiltrate areas that are difficult to patrol and police. These drones are equipped with technology that can capture the direction of a bullet and where they come from,” the Premier said.

The province has procured 400 new police cars, which means that from 1 May, every ward in communities will have a 24hr patrol car equipped with proper gadgets.

In addition, 6 000 young men and women have been recruited to monitor and police Gauteng 24/7 from 1 May 2023.

“The almost 10000 private security companies have agreed to combine their resources with ours under a joint command structure so that we can fight crime together in our province,” Lesufi said.

The Premier emphasised the importance of amending legislation on the registration of cars, since they are a common denominator in violent crimes; either stolen or get away vehicles, the elimination of illegal guns and the need to migrate the province to use less cash in business transactions.

“The current number plate system is running out of numerics and letters. We want to take advantage of this situation to introduce new, hard to copy and tamper with, number plates.

“As we speak, we have issued the Government Gazette on 17 February 2023 for consultation and comments on new security features. This new system will also assist in managing the abuse of temporary number plates,” the Premier said.

He called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to create a new database of all vehicles within the region so that a common verification platform can exist.

“We have also issued strict instructions to our law enforcement agencies to pull off those who continue to drive cars without number plates or fraudulent temporary permits. The abuse of fake blue lights are in the increase. A special unit to eliminate this phenomenon is being assembled.

“Those with illegal guns are now playing God. They decide who lives and who dies. Together with the private security industry, we have found a solution that will assist in tracking stolen guns and locate them wherever they are in our country. We will firstly migrate our law enforcement agencies guns in this system then members of the public,” Lesufi said.

In an effort to contribute towards using less cash in business transactions in the province, the Premier urged retailers and other businesses to join the hospitality industry in eliminating cash transactions.

“If we all do so, we will see less business robberies, cash heists and ATM bombings.”

Source: South African Government News Agency