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.
It is reported that the successful crime prevention wardens will be deployed in townships, informal settlements, and hostels across the country.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, who attended the ceremony on Saturday, encouraged the newly appointed crime prevention wardens to defend against and combat crime and gangsterism in their areas.
Lesufi also took to X, where he wrote about how many criticised the initiative at first, citing it as a political statement.
“When we said ‘Nasi iSpane’ we were told it’s a hoax and it’s a political statement. We are excited today that thousands and thousands of young people are here to receive their appointment letters, regardless of their social or political standing. Less talk, more work.”
The department revealed that Gauteng is resolute in the fight against crime, and that is evident through the additional recruitment of more crime prevention wardens to augment the work of the law enforcement agencies.
In an effort to bolster law enforcement, Lesufi deployed 4 000 crime prevention wardens earlier this year to patrol the province’s crime hot spots.
Despite claims that the wardens had received intensive training, several have come under fire, with many doubting their ability to carry out their responsibilities.
Mahlatse Tseko, one of the wardens whose photo went viral in May as a result of his physical appearance, which many criticised further raising concerns about the training given to the crime wardens.
Tseko was reported to have been combating crime as a volunteer for many years, according to Lesufi.
He defended him by saying: “Discrimination and body shaming are just as dangerous as racism and sexism. You are capable of working even if you are in some way. I’ve gone above and above by asking Mahlatse Tseko, a volunteer crime fighter who has battled criminals for years, to lead this training.”
Lesufi assured Gauteng residents that they would have a restful night’s sleep at the launch, when the crime prevention wardens received orders to begin patrolling the city’s streets on May 1.
“We are politely requesting all criminals pack their things and leave Gauteng,” said Lesufi.
It revealed that the wardens in Gauteng will address criminal activities including, but not limited to, illegal land occupation and lawlessness, damage to state infrastructure, and vandalism, gender-based violence, and femicide. Lesufi has also unleashed hi-tech equipment to ensure safer streets.
The department listed its responsibilities, which include:
* Ensure police visibility at ward level.
* Ensure a timely response to reported crime incidents.
* Interact with community structures and other sources to provide “early warning” – community intelligence gathering.
* Tackle “lawlessness” through heightened enforcement.
* Prevent incidents of illegal land occupation and incidents of damage to state infrastructure.
* Work with the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development and the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements to address land invasions.