Lesufi: Gauteng’s future depends on tech's help to curb crime

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 10 Jul 2023
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi.
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi.

The Gauteng government’s ambition to establish the province as South Africa’s central digital economic hub hinges on technology innovation and the ability to curb crime, said Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi.

Speaking at the Huawei Eco-Connect Sub-Saharan Africa conference hosted in Johannesburg last week, Lesufi said the intention is to transition the province from a region founded on the mining industry, to a modern, post-COVID-19 pandemic digital hub that directs the country’s economy.

Lesufi said technology companies have a crucial role to play in helping to shape the province and empower it to drive the digital economy.

“I want to thank Huawei and thank all the technology companies represented here today … we need ideas, we need innovation, and we need to fight ‘this thing’ together,” he said.

If we cannot fight crime in this province, we are finished.

Panyaza Lesufi, Gauteng premier.

This ‘thing’ he referred to is crime, which Lesufi described as “the number one enemy for Gauteng and for South Africa”.

He added that the province has a budget of R4.7 billion set aside to combat crime and the strategy is to go ‘high-tech’.

“The days of chasing criminals with a knobkerrie are over,” said Lesufi. “We want high definition, facial recognition CCTV cameras on every street in every community, we want the police to be able to use drones and drone technology to mobilise crime response resource.”

Lesufi said the province has invested in six new helicopters to support the police and recruited 6 000 men and women into the police force.

The Gauteng premier emphasised the value of the Gauteng e-panic button app that is already in place to provide emergency armed and medical response to citizens. The app enables users to connect to a nationwide network of private armed response and medical emergency services.

Lesufi urged business leaders to unite behind provincial government in efforts to tackle crime.

“We need your input, we need ideas and innovation, we want the best and most innovative technology. My message to you is: we need you and we are ready to do business. If we cannot fight crime in this province, we are finished.”