Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Bongani Baloyi, leader of the Xiluva political party, is calling on residents and travelers in Gauteng to disregard instructions from the newly-established Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens unless the unit is backed by the police. Baloyi emphasized to IOL that the group lacks sufficient training to operate independently and should not function without the support of law enforcement agencies like the South African Police Service (SAPS).

In an interview, Baloyi expressed concern about the wardens operating independently, randomly stopping and searching people while posing as police officers. He insisted that they should only operate under police supervision, highlighting that the wardens have received three months of training and may not fully understand and appreciate the law required for their designated roles.

Baloyi announced that his party intends to seek a court order declaring the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens an illegal entity. According to him, the wardens lack an understanding of the law, and the court action aims to prevent the Gauteng provincial government from forming what he perceives as militia groups.

The Xiluva Party leader questioned the training received by the wardens, raising concerns about their use of high-powered vehicles typically reserved for specialized forces in traffic police or the SAPS. Baloyi emphasized the need to investigate further, expressing justified concerns about the situation.

Last week, IOL reported that Justice Minister Ronald Lamola conferred legal status on Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s crime prevention wardens, also known as amaPanyaza, equating them with the legal standing of Gauteng provincial traffic officers. Lamola clarified that while they were legally designated as traffic officers, they could engage in crime prevention activities as law enforcement officers, although their powers were limited compared to the SA Police Service.

Baloyi’s court action seeks to challenge the Gauteng provincial government’s actions in forming what he considers an illegal force. He emphasized the need to halt the formation of what he deems militia groups, urging a closer examination of the legal standing and operations of the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens.

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