GP picks Diepsloot to initiate CCTV-driven crime fight

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 29 May 2023
Mzi Khumalo, Gauteng MEC of e-government, research and development.
Mzi Khumalo, Gauteng MEC of e-government, research and development.

The Gauteng province has begun installing facial recognition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Diepsloot, the Department of e-Government has revealed.

This comes as the Gauteng Provincial Government has prioritised strengthening its crime-fighting efforts, supported by technology-driven solutions.

Premier Panyaza Lesufi has tasked Gauteng’s e-government department to come up with smart, innovative technology solutions, to help deal with the scourge of crime in the province.

Resultantly, the e-government department revealed its budget for the 2023/2024 financial year will focus on the development and implementation of crime-fighting technologies.

For the financial year under review, the department’s budget allocation is just over R1.7 billion, said Mzi Khumalo, Gauteng MEC of e-government, research and development.

With the allocated budget, Khumalo indicated greater priority has been given to support key ICT projects, including establishing an “effective” e-policing strategy for the province.

Commenting on the CCTV deployment in Diepsloot, the MEC said the Gauteng township is one of the areas that have been identified as a crime hotspot.

“CCTV cameras will assist in crime prevention and detection. These CCTV cameras will be linked to dashboards in all police stations in Gauteng. Drones will also be used to track criminal activity, but most importantly to help law enforcement reach areas that are impossible to get to, due to lack of infrastructure.

“This project of CCTV surveillance system cameras should enable the police to monitor the area on a 24-hour basis. It will highlight the capabilities of the CCTV surveillance cameras of producing data which can be used in fighting crime.”

Lesufi also took to his Twitter page, tweeting: “No crime will happen in our communities without our knowledge. It was Diepsloot’s turn to receive our high-quality face recognition CCTVs. A safer Gauteng is in the making. Less talk, more work.”

According to Khumalo, the plan is to deploy CCTV surveillance across every major road, business centres and hotspot areas with potential crime in the province, while prioritising the township, informal settlement and hostel areas.

In addition to the CCTV surveillance, the e-government MEC revealed drones and e-panic buttons will be deployed, in line with reducing the levels of crime in the Diepsloot area.

“A pilot project for the online e-Panic Button for the Gauteng province employees (nurses and teachers), who have been identified as some of the most vulnerable citizens and therefore more susceptible to crime, is under way.

“For the purpose of this exercise, 8 000 employees have been targeted. The e-Panic Button provides anyone in distress with access to law enforcement and emergency health services at the touch of a button.”

Like the rest of the country, the Gauteng province has recorded an escalation in crime incidents, ranging from murder, violent crime, hijackings, theft and sexual offences.

As the province battles lawlessness, Lesufi and finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo have called for the use of technology to strengthen the fight against crime, corruption and vandalism.

In places like Cape Town, the city’s safety and security directorate has boosted its financial budget, in an effort to deploy a number of tech interventions to fight crime. Some of these include CCTV cameras,gunshot detection technology, and body and dashboard cameras.

With e-government’s new mandate, Khumalo noted the department is also in the market to source technology solutions for tracking the state’s registered strategic assets, which include vehicles and firearms.

The department will prioritise procuring high-quality drones for officials to operate and link information to law enforcement. It will also develop a payment engine for cashless transactions for all provincial government departments and entities, he said.

To view the installation of the CCTV cameras in Diepsloot, click here