Gauteng Premier scrap e-tolls and prioritise crime during SOPA

FOUR MONTHS after being sworn in as the Premier of Gauteng Province, Panyaza Lesufi has promised the controversial e-tolls will be scrapped, finally.

The long and tedious e-tolls saga has been that ‘monkey’ on the back of Gauteng residents for years’.

In his maiden State of the Province Address on Monday evening at the Gauteng Legislature, the Tembisa born Lesufi, also spoke tough on crime, billions budgeted, unemployment, pot-holes, health, sport and of course, the pain in the a&*s Eskom.

He said he wished he did not have to deliver the address as residents had lost confidence in the provincial government.

“They think we talk too much and do less. My preference would have been to take you to different sites of Gauteng to showcase the work we have done. Let me assure you, we will talk less and do more.

“So the issue of fighting crime should be our apex priority. We should unleash all our resources at our disposal to tackle crime. To this end, we are increasing our budget for fighting crime from R750-million to multibillions in the next three years.”

The Premier made the following announcement on crime prevention:

  • “Starting from the 1st of April 2023, we will start to connect suburbs, townships, business districts, schools and other public places with high-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.
  • “We will unveil two new helicopters at the beginning of the next financial year and add four additional helicopters within the 2023/2024 budget cycle. The private security industry has pledged to add theirs as well to the pool of helicopters that will patrol our skies.
  • “To ensure that our police are not sacrificial lambs in the battles with criminals, we are at an advanced stage to procure 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.
  • “We have procured 400 new police cars so that from the 1st of May, every ward in our communities will have a 24-hour patrol car equipped with proper gadgets.
  • “6,000 young men and women have been recruited to monitor and police Gauteng 24/7 — they will invade our streets from the 1st of May 2023.

“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.”  

Gauteng recorded the second-highest number of multiple murders in South Africa, with other crimes also on the rise and said “Today, let’s openly admit, our province is a home of heartless and merciless criminals. They do as they wish. If this situation is left unattended it will be the end of all of us.”

Lesufi acknowledged that to bring his plans to life, three areas of the province’s legislation needed to be revamped:

  • The registration of cars, because cars were a common denominator in violent crimes; either stolen or getaway vehicles;
  • The elimination of illegal guns; and

The need for the province to use less cash in business transactions.

On illegal guns, the Premier announced the province had collaborated with the private security industry and found a way to locate the guns anywhere in the country.

“Those with illegal guns are now playing god. They decide who lives and who dies. Together with the private security industry, we have found a solution that will assist in tracking stolen guns and locate them wherever they are in our country. We will firstly migrate our law enforcement agencies’ guns in this system, then members of the public.”

‘We promise to do more, and talk less’ says Lesufi, who also indicated as part of Government’s commitment to healthy living, would reintroduce ‘Sport on Wednesdays’ and ‘revitalise’ ECDs.

As expected opposition parties including the DA and ActionSA disagreed with his address labelling it as ‘hoax’ yet some believe it was a ‘good speech ahead of 2024 elections’ (electioneering campaign).

Image supplied (Talk peppered with oomph. Premier of Gauteng Panyanza Lesufi at this maiden SOPA on Monday evening at Gauteng Legislature).

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