Lesufi apologises, seeks meeting with minister ‘to clear the air and make amends’

Meanwhile, Accountability Now says it has laid a complaint against Lesufi and his Cabinet.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has apologised for comments that he acknowledged came across as “insensitive” and “threatening” towards a minister.

Addressing a Sunday meeting of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), Lesufi issued a warning to a minister, presumed to be either Police Minister Bheki Cele or Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola, saying that “his days are numbered”.

This happened amid debates around the constitutionality of the appointments of crime-fighting wardens, known as Amapanyaza.

ALSO READ: ‘Your days are numbered’ – Lesufi issues warning to unnamed minister

“These police wardens, you as a minister are refusing to recognise them. Your days are numbered. We can’t, when young people are assisting us to fight crime, you want to undermine them,” said Lesufi.

“You can’t when we have trained young people to be on the streets in our townships and protect our young people when they are studying at night in our schools, you don’t want to recognise them.

“We say to this minister, give us the power for these young people to have the power to get guns so that they protect our townships and chase away criminals in our own areas.”

Lesufi apologises

Following the incident, Lesufi issued an apology and expressed his intention to meet with the affected minister to “clear the air” and “make amends”.

He, however, said the clip which has been circulating was “sliced” and did not include the parts of his presentation where he appreciated the work of the police.

“In the last 24 hours, I have noted with disappointment the slicing and leaking of a video recording of an internal political presentation I made to a gathering of one of our Alliance partners,” said Lesufi.

“As the chairperson of the ANC in Gauteng, I was giving an update to one of our Alliance partners about the progress and challenges we are experiencing in implementing one of the 2019 ANC Manifesto commitments to fight crime in our province.

ALSO READ: Lesufi vs. Cele: Clash of titans over Gauteng’s security future

“The content of my presentation, as per the leak, came across as insensitive and threatening to a government minister, and for that, I apologise and accept full responsibility for what I said.

“Unfortunately, this leaked brief excerpt from my extensive presentation did not put our appreciation of the work of the police and other law enforcement organisations into context; instead, it elevated our concerns and frustrations.

“Passionate internal political deliberations among comrades and allies, laced with frustration, delivered in haste, and with little tact, can cause harm when none was intended.

“Since our frustration with fighting crime stems from a genuine desire to make a difference, we are actively pursuing with the relevant Ministers to clear the air the air and make amends.”

Gauteng ANC supports premier

The ANC in Gauteng has rallied behind the premier, saying the video clip was being used to sow discord between Lesufi and Cele.

Gauteng ANC spokesperson Lesego Makhubela said there was no bad blood between the two, and in fact, the wardens were working well with the country’s law enforcement agencies including the SAPS and private securities.

“This video has been misconstrued and used to create distortions about the relationship between Minister of Police Bheki Cele and Panyaza Lesufi. It has been used exactly as that to demobilise the people of Gauteng against the ANC,” Makhubela told Newzroom Afrika.

“We’re working very well with the minister. When the launch happened, the minister could not make it but delegated the deputy minister Cassel Mathale, who came and supported the programme and even spoke at the launch.”

Meanwhile, Accountability Now says it has lodged a complaint against Lesufi and his Cabinet with the Public Protector regarding the constitutionality of Amapanyaza.

WATCH: Panyaza Lesufi delivers Gauteng Sopa 2023 speech

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