‘We’re dealing with fools who are not sophisticated’: Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi says no fire power will be spared to tackle criminals

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media

Published May 15, 2024


Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said his government, working with other spheres of the state, has to act urgently to counter marauding criminals who have besieged the province.

In an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Wednesday, Lesufi however said the criminals bedevilling the province resulting in rampant murders, spiking of roads and robberies were not sophisticated at all.

“We are in an emergency and we cannot be cosmetic in our approach. A soccer player (Luke Fleurs) was killed for no apparent reason, there is a five-year-old (Ditebogo Junior Phalane) also killed for no apparent reason. We cannot be softie-softie and territorial to say I don’t need this, I need this, leave me alone,” said Lesufi.

“You need to bring all the resources that are needed. Whatever firepower that the country can possess to fight crime, we need it. We just have to throw everything we have as government to criminals,” he said.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi with Police Minister Bheki Cele at an imbizo against crime in Westbury. File Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Media
“The encouraging thing is that these criminals are not sophisticated, unlike criminals we see in other countries (like) in Mexico. We are dealing with fools here. We are killed, harassed and murdered by fools. If we can employ the resources that the state has, without being territorial, we will be in a position to eliminate these fools.”

The outspoken premier of Gauteng said he has become “impatient” as he strongly feels that government is delaying in releasing the resources it has in its arsenal, to counter the runaway crime, affecting residents.

Lesufi said the negative impact of crime is far reaching as the economy cannot attract the investment and skills it needs into a crime-riddled society.

Last week, Independent Media reported that in the wake of the outcry over the brutal shooting of the five-year-old Ditebogo Junior Phalane in Soshanguve, who was caught in the crossfire during a botched hijacking, calls have been made for heightened law enforcement efforts to curb the spike of crime in the area.

The slain Ditebogo Junior Phalane. Picture: X

Just weeks after popular soul and R&B DJ and radio personality Peter Mashata was shot in Soshanguve on April 20, after performing at Epozini lifestyle, the community has been hard hit once more by criminal activity.

Police on Saturday confirmed that the five-year-old boy was shot on Friday evening after he had gone to welcome his dad who was arriving home at 10.30pm.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said, according to information, an unconfirmed number of armed suspects allegedly hijacked the father’s Toyota bakkie and shot the boy, who later died in hospital.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo. File Picture

Masondo said police had opened a case of murder and hijacking and were searching for the suspects.

EFF MP Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, speaking to the Soshanguve station commander following a visit to the boy’s family home on Sunday, said he could not accept that the police in the country were completely compromised, and could be defeated by people who were not trained.

“You are taken through rigorous training to fight violence. I can’t accept the situation in Soshanguve can completely defeat you. Perhaps you can tell me what this big problem is,” he said.

EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has visited the family of the five-year-old Ditebogo Phalane Jr who was shot and killed during a hijacking at his home in Soshanguve. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

The station commander said it was heartbreaking that a child should lose their life while their parents were co-operating with the criminals.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele said additional resources have been brought in to assist in the investigation of how the five-year-old boy was killed in Block UU, Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

Cele was on Tuesday speaking outside the Phalane residence after meeting with the family.

Lesufi has also visited and spent time with the grieving family.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi visited the family of five-year-old Ditebogo Phalane Jr who was shot and killed during a hijacking in Soshanguve. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers