‘Amapanyaza’ recognised as Peace Officers, legal challenge looms

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The Gauteng provincial government says the province’s crime prevention wardens, also known as Amapanyaza are still under going training.

On Wednesday, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola confirmed that the wardens are to be declared peace officers and given the same legal status as traffic officers under the Criminal Procedure Act.

Meanwhile, it’s reported that the new political party, Xiluva has vowed to challenge the peace officers status granted to the wardens in court.

Gauteng Premier Spokesperson, Vuyo Mhaga says, “Part of the people who were actually training them were actually traffic officers, traffic officers were there, police were there. So, they were part and parcel of the people who were trained. What has changed is that they are currently under the traffic police, rather than the police in particular. But if you look at the execution of the two institutions, in the Gauteng set up, they are in all the law enforcement agencies, are co-ordinated by General Mawela himself.”

Criticism over wardens’ legal status: Vuyo Mhaga

Lesufi welcomes announcement

Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi has welcomed the announcement by Lamola to designate Crime Prevention Wardens as Peace Officers.

This is in response to the provincial government’s June request that the wardens be recognized as Peace Officers in accordance with the Criminal Procedures Act, 1977, Section 334.

The wardens were deployed earlier this year to assist in reducing crime in Gauteng.

Lesufi deployed 6 000 wardens without authorisation from Lamola who, under section 334(1)(a) of the Criminal Procedures Act, has the authority to confer peace officer status to any person by their office, to exercise power under the Criminal Procedure Act.

After conducting a thorough analysis of the applicable legal frameworks, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development decided that for the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens to exercise peace officer powers, they must assume the same legal status as Gauteng Provincial traffic officers.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi unveils anti-crime unit: