JOHANNESBURG – GAUTENG, South Africa’s economic hub, is increasing investments in technology as the province ramps up against crime, a scourge impeding economic growth.
The investment is on facial recognition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, drones and an e-Panic button among other tech solutions.
Aimed towards aiding law enforcement agencies, they come as the new provincial administration allocates more funds allocated to ensuring safety and security.
Panyaza Lesufi, the Premier of Gauteng, disclosed the funds allocated for crime fighting had been increased from R700 million to R4 billion. That’s an increase of more than 400 percent.
The aim is to double funds allocated to fighting crime, which Lesufi mentioned alongside corruption as the major hindrances to economic growth in South Africa.
Lesufi, premier since October 2022, disclosed the figures and plans at the Huawei Eco-Connect Sub-Saharan Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre, north of Johannesburg.
“We have to go high tech,” the premier told delegates during the keynote session.
“The days of chasing criminals with a knobkerrie are over,” Lesufi emphasised.
He disclosed over 60 CCTV cameras had been installed, including the restive Diepsloot, the latest township to erupt into violence in protest against crime.
The target is to install more than 140 of these cameras in crime hotspots in the country.
Drones are to be deployed in some areas that could be inaccessible to law enforcers.
Besides being the commercial heart (and smallest province) of Africa’s most industrialised, technologically advanced and diversified economy, Gauteng hosts South Africa’s administrative (executive) capital, Pretoria.
Statistics suggest it is the most violent of the country’s nine provinces.
Lebogang Maile, provincial Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development, said the Huawei Eco-Connect resonated with Gauteng’s commitment to digitising the province.
The summit by the global technology company was held under the theme, “Leading Digital for New Value TOGETHER.”
Founded in 1987, Huawei set up a subsidiary in South Africa in 1998. It works with around 1 000 partners to promote the digital transformation of the South African government.
“We see Huawei as part of our industry partners that we should work with to expand network coverage in rural and remote areas across South Africa with the main goal of closing and narrowing the digital divide by providing better and faster digital services,” Philemon Mapulane, Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, said at the Huawei Eco-Connect.
– CAJ News