Pretoria - Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has admitted that the province is home to “heartless and merciless criminals” and noted that the state of township and informal settlements was deplorable.
Lesufi was speaking on Monday during the State of the Province Address (Sopa) at the Johannesburg City Hall, saying that if these alarming issues remain unattended to, it would be the end of all of South Africans.
To combat the crime rate, Lesufi said they will increase the budget for fighting crime from R750 million to billions in the next three years.
“Starting from the 1st of April 2023, we will start to connect suburbs, townships, business districts, schools and other public places with hi-tech face and car recognition CCTVs. 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,’’ said Lesufi.
Among other crime-fighting measures, Lesufi said they are at an advanced stage in the procurement of 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.”
He also said that 6 000 young men and women have been recruited to monitor and police Gauteng 24/7 and will be on the streets from May 1.
“Almost 10 000 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.”
On the state of townships, the premier said the gap between townships and suburbs is growing unabated.
“This gap must be closed and this Sopa is setting a firm foundation for that mission. We will endeavour to convert our townships, informal settlements and hostels to be better and respectable.”
The premier said as of April 1, they will use 60% of the R34 billion goods and services budget to support township initiatives.
“We are empowering aboMastandi (township landlords) to be in the real estate industry. I am pleased to announce that 2 000 applications have been validated for funding for aboMastandi and 40 loans have been approved to the tune of R50 million, which has the potential to create employment.”
Lesufi said they also want to begin a process of managing, formalising and ending informal settlements.
“As part of ensuring that informal settlements don’t escalate in our province, we are concluding the establishment of a 24-hour anti-land invasion tactical unit. This unit will be fully equipped and backed by legal brains to stop the lawlessness of invading other people’s land easily.”