Lesufi apologises for 'days are numbered' threat to the minister.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has apologised for his outburst recorded in a video which has been circulating widely on social media platforms.
Lesufi was heard in a video sending a threat to an unnamed cabinet minister whom he believes to be dragging his feet in approving legislation that allows Crime Prevention Wardens to have more operating powers.
He was speaking in his capacity as the ANC's provincial chairperson while addressing the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) congress on Sunday.
In a video that has since gone viral on social media, Lesufi can be heard saying "your days are numbered".
In a statement released on Monday afternoon, Lesufi said the "sliced" video was captured while he was delivering an internal political presentation.
"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.
"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," said Lesufi.
He believes the leaked video was intentionally released without full context.
'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 a meeting with the relevant Ministers to clear the air and make amends," said Lesufi.
The 6000 young people were recruited in April as part of the premier's commitment to fight crime in the province and went through a three-month training programme.
The group was trained to strengthen the existing law enforcement officials in the fight against crime at the ward level.
Following their graduation, the wardens were deployed to target hotspot areas in crime prevention operations.
The ANC in Gauteng has rallied behind the premier, saying the video clip was being used to sow discord between Lesufi and minister of police Bheki 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 and Lesufi. It has been used exactly as that to demobilise the people of Gauteng against the ANC, "Makhubela added.
Meanwhile, Accountability Now says it has lodged a complaint against Lesufi and his Cabinet with the Public Protector regarding the constitutionality of Crime Prevention Wardens.