‘Minister, your days are numbered’: Lesufi apologises after circulating rant against unnamed minister

Gauteng ANC chairperson Panyaza Lesufi who is also premier of the province. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

Gauteng ANC chairperson Panyaza Lesufi who is also premier of the province. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

Published Nov 14, 2023


Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has apologised for his outburst recorded in a video which has been circulating widely on social media platforms.

While addressing the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) congress on Sunday, Lesufi expressed deep disappointment with an unnamed Cabinet minister, who he accused of refusing to recognise Gauteng’s thousands of Crime Prevention Wardens, colloquially referred to as AmaPanyaza.

“We’ve trained these young people to be police wardens; you, as a minister, you’re failing to recognise them. Your days are numbered,” Lesufi said in the video.

“We can’t, when young people are assisting us to fight crime and have you undermine them. You can’t, when we’ve trained young people to be in the streets in our townships to protect young people when they study in our schools at night, and you don’t want to recognise them,” he said.

— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) November 13, 2023

“We say to this minister, give us the power for these young people to have the power to get guns so that they protect our townships and chase away criminals in our own areas,” said Lesufi.

“And we are committed to that.”

The Gauteng premier has been pushing for the 6,000-strong Crime Prevention Wardens in Gauteng to be given the authority to carry firearms, which analysts say has created a row with some Cabinet ministers in national government’s Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS).

Some analysts have interpreted the outburst to be directed at Police Minister Bheki Cele, who was not at the event. Other commentators believe the message was directed for Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola.

However, as the video circulated widely, Lesufi apologised on Monday evening, saying his video came across as insensitive and threatening.

“The content of my presentation, as per the leak, came across as insensitive and threatening to a government minister, and for that, I apologise and accept full responsibility for what I said,” Lesufi said in a statement shared on social media platform X.

“Unfortunately, this leaked brief excerpt from my extensive presentation did not put our appreciation of the work of the police and other law enforcement organisations into context. Instead, it elevated our concerns and frustrations,” he said.

“Passionate internal political deliberations among comrades and allies, laced with frustration, delivered in haste, and with little tact can cause harm when none was intended.”

He indicated that there are plans to meet the “relevant ministers” and to make amends.

“Since our frustration with fighting crime stems from a genuine desire to make a difference, we are actively pursuing a meeting with the relevant ministers to clear the air and make amends,” said the premier.

Two crime prevention wardens Ntokozo Ngubane from Benoni and Brendon Petersen from Toekomsrus. File Picture: Supplied

Last week, IOL reported that the Gauteng Department of Community Safety has handed over appointment letters to more than 5,000 successful job applicants as part of the #NasiiSpani mass recruitment drive.

The department revealed that this will be a continuous process by the Gauteng provincial government to reduce youth unemployment.