CCTV cameras, upgraded car plates and more to combat crime in Gauteng

Gauteng premier Lesufi signs new partnership in plan to make province safer

13 February 2024 - 15:35
By Penwell Dlamini
The deal inked by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi and Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock will result in government installing 1,100 new cameras in townships and informal settlements in its fight against crime.
Image: Penwell Dlamini The deal inked by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi and Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock will result in government installing 1,100 new cameras in townships and informal settlements in its fight against crime.

The Gauteng government has signed a memorandum of understanding with technology firm Vumacam which gives the province access to the feed from the company’s 6,900 cameras spread across the province.

The memorandum signed in Milpark, Johannesburg, on Tuesday by Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi and Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock will also result in the government installing more than 1,100 additional cameras in townships and informal settlements.

The feed will then be used by the provincial government in its fight against crime.

We are adding a tactical team. We will have a team that will concentrate on taxi violence, kidnapping, land invasion and fight against the hijacking of government construction projects
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi

Lesufi said the move is inspired by the unacceptable levels of crime in the province, which require the government to up its game.

“We can’t be in our own houses and be at the mercy of criminals and pretend and behave as if we have lost this battle. If you have lost the battle against criminals, don’t count me. I’m still standing and will fight these criminals until they leave this province and go wherever they want to go.

“It hurts me to see that in daylight, people close highways, rob a cash van for almost 13 minutes and nothing happens,” Lesufi said.

He said the province has also taken over all the 300 cameras on Gauteng highways to get a better handle on what is happening on the roads.

Lesufi also announced that there will be 3,000 more crime prevention wardens, who will join the 6,000 unveiled last year.

“We are adding a tactical team. We will have a team that will concentrate on taxi violence, kidnapping, land invasion and fight against the hijacking of government construction projects in the province. This is a new group,” he said.

Croock said the company’s infrastructure has an overview camera. It has artificial intelligence which categorises what is seen on the camera and alerts the operator to something unusual.

“The other side of the camera is licence recognition, which scans the licence and runs it against the database and tells you if that car has been involved in a crime or is wanted by police. This happens in milliseconds.

“We have seen 10 to 15 successes of arrest every day. These are people involved in car hijacking, kidnapping, murder, drugs and house breakings,” Croock said.

The company is working with the province to introduce facial recognition technology in its infrastructure in the future, he added.

Every person that has a car must re-register and get a new registration number
Lesufi

Lesufi used the opportunity to announce the introduction of new vehicle registration plates, as most crimes are committed using cars in the province.

“From April 1, we are revamping registration of all the cars in Gauteng. We are starting afresh, all of us. Every person that has a car must re-register and get a new registration number that cannot be copied and is reliable, so that we know what is happening in our province.

“We are in a trial stage with all government cars having new number plates. We will unveil these number plates on Monday.

“Everyone must register their vehicle ... If you spend 30 consecutive days in Gauteng, it means your car must be registered in Gauteng.”

On the placement of cameras, Lesufi said: “So to Vumacam, I don’t want these cameras in Sandton; I want them in Sebokeng, Thembisa, Diepsloot and in the middle of an informal settlement, because all lives are important and all lives must be protected. Spread these things until South Africans start to complain that I’m invading their privacy.”

The use of CCTV cameras is part of Gauteng government’s grand plan to use technology to fight crime.

The Gauteng provincial government has allocated R2.8bn to fighting crime, which includes the Vumacam deal. Lesufi announced his plan last year, which will ultimately use drones, helicopters and panic buttons to catch criminals and improve response time by law enforcement.

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