/ 29 February 2024

KwaZulu-Natal to get crime wardens, says Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube

Nomusa Dube
Nomusa Dube-Ncube says KwaZulu-Natal will have 1 000 social crime wardens on the beat. (Darren Stewart/Gallo)

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube says the province wants to introduce its own “amaPanyaza” — similar to Gauteng’s crime wardens — to fight against crime and has plans underway to have 1 000 volunteers on the streets.

Dube-Ncube announced the initiative in her State of the Province address (Sopa) in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday, along with the creation of a community safety intervention unit, which will fall under KwaZulu-Natal’s community safety and liaison department.

She said the unit would be established in the 2024-25 financial year and would work with other law enforcement agencies to proactively fight crime, in conjunction with existing agencies, at community level.

 Dube-Ncube said the province had already sourced 60 vehicles — which were on display at the Pietermaritzburg Oval cricket stadium, where she delivered her second Sopa since taking office in 2022 — for use in community patrols.

“Crime fighting will be further strengthened through the recruitment of 1 000 social crime prevention volunteers covering the entire province,” Dube-Ncube said.

The community safety and education departments had also embarked on a training programme among school goers to “engender a culture of fighting crime among young people”.

The premier said the South African Police Service, which had increased its provincial capacity by 4 000 officers over the past four years, had also announced that more vehicles and trainee constables would be made available in KwaZulu-Natal.

Dube-Ncube outlined steps taken by the province to fight cross-border crime, including the installation of barriers making it more difficult for stolen vehicles to be moved from South Africa into Mozambique.

The province had, Dube-Ncube said, made significant progress since 1994, a process which had accelerated once the ANC took control of the province in 2004 and people “tasted the real fruit of liberation”.

Turning to the water crisis gripping KwaZulu-Natal, Dube-Ncube acknowledged “the current challenges of constrained energy and water supply in some parts of the province”.

“We are working hard to attend to these issues, and I am convinced that working together we will find lasting solutions,” she said.

Dube-Ncube paid particular attention to the Zulu monarchy and the institutions of traditional leadership in her address, saying the provincial government “accords respect” to the king and royal household.

The province had fenced all six palaces and bought vehicles for the queen mother and all the wives of the late king, Goodwill Zwelithini ka BhekuZulu.

It has also provided financial and educational support to the members of the royal household and enjoyed “cordial and professional relations” with the new king, MisuZulu ka Zwelithini, to whom it provided administrative and logistical support.

Salaries for amakhosi had increased from R60 000 a year in 1994 to the current R279 000, while funeral allowances had risen from R50 000 to R80 000.

Traditional courts had been upgraded to provide them with facilities equitable with those of government departments, while traditional council secretaries and amakhosi had undergone computer literacy and other training.

Thus far 88% of the province’s more than 2 200 izinduna had been placed on the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs’ payroll at a cost of R631 million.

A further R11.5 million had been allocated to support interventions linked to the killing of traditional leaders.

Dube-Ncube said the province continued to recover from the effects of Covid-19, the July 2021 riots and the 2022 floods, which collectively caused damage estimated at about R33 billion. Cooperation between government and organised business had assisted in helping business recover, and in rebuilding investor confidence in the province, she said.

Dube-Ncube listed a number of initiatives which she said would assist in addressing problems with water, infrastructure and electricity supply over the next five years, saying the province had aligned with the priorities outlined by the president at the ANC manifesto launch during the weekend.

Opposition parties were far from complementary about the content of Dube-Ncube’s address.

Democratic Alliance provincial leader Francois Rodgers said the premier’s “dololo” address “showed all the signs of a washed-up ANC that is running scared ahead of the May elections”.

“Listening to the premier today, KwaZulu-Natal sounds like paradise — as long as you don’t look too closely at the joblessness, the abject poverty, the filthy sewage filled streets, the violent crime and all manner of other horrors,” Rodgers said.

Instead of addressing job creation and rebuilding the provincial economy, he said Dube-Ncube had “blamed the disastrous provincial economy and lack of investor confidence on the July 2021 unrest and Covid-19, while claiming private sector investments as government initiatives”.

The premier had provided no answers regarding service delivery collapse; load-shedding and water outages, but spoke about “war rooms and master plans and no real action”, Rodgers said, adding that Dube-Ncube had also failed to address crime levels in the province, which had not been reduced — or the initiatives she had promised last year which had not been delivered upon.