Gauteng’s crime prevention wardens have been involved in 22 accidents since taking possession of 199 new BMWs in May 2023, according to the Sunday Times.
Three cars have been written off, 11 vehicles are undergoing repairs, and eight are being assessed for damage. Among the BMWs bough tare X1s, X3s and 3 series models.
A spokesperson for Gauteng department of community safety said that ‘Law enforcement officials’ had accidents ‘because they have to cautiously use high levels of speed when conducting high-density operations and patrols. However, the department does not condone [the] reckless and irresponsible driving of state vehicles.’
This is the latest setback for Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi’s controversial job-creation plan to introduce wardens into high-crime areas in the province.
Over the next three years, the provincial government plans to spend R4bn on training and absorbing the wardens.
Morwane did not respond to whether any wardens had faced disciplinary action for the accidents.
Lesufi’s spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla, said the wardens were ‘students’.
‘That is why you find them at the police station. They are not empowered to do anything by themselves at all. If you see them on the street, you are likely to see Gauteng traffic police with them. That is why the province is calling them a supplementary force. They are not replacing the police.
‘When you see them at the police station, it is because the supervisors — the SAPS — on that particular day have decided they should be at the police station and should focus on paperwork. Once they are fully-fledged peace officers, they will be able to interact with the community structures. They will be able to venture by themselves to do the work that their mandate allows them to do’, Pamla said.