S.Africa military set to deploy against Cape Town gangs

Nellie Chapman
July 14, 2019

According to Briefly.co.za, Police Minister Bheki Cele unleashed the South African National Defence Force on the crime-ridden streets of the Cape Flats earlier, and now it's reported the military will be spending 3 months in the area.

"The Western Cape has seen more than 2 500 murders over the past year, with 900 gang-related murders since January", Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said by phone.

The SANDF has been authorized to observe, cordon off and search, conduct vehicle and foot patrols, and provide air support which will also help to identify drug manufacturing labs.

Communities and the Western Cape Government have been calling for the army as a peacekeeping and stabilisation force for several years. It is therefore more pressing than ever that we continue to drive our inter-governmental dispute with Minister Cele on policing allocation and resourcing, and we will continue to fight for provincial control of the police service.

The deployment is for three months and can be renewed.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that police would be assisted by the army in various crime hotspots for three months. Cele rejected the call to use the army just four days ago when addressing members of the community after the murders of 13 people last weekend.

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Known mainly for its stunning tourist attractions, including Robben Island and Table Mountain, Cape Town also has some of the country's highest murder rates. The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, which has governed the Western Cape since 2011, has welcomed the temporary military intervention, saying that it was long overdue.

"Countless mothers have buried their innocent children and life in these communities has been a never-ending nightmare".

Cape Town's gang problem goes back many decades.

At least 20 people have been killed in the city since last week.

Similar to Los Angeles, there is an entrenched gang culture with thousands of young men belonging to street gangs with names like "Hard Living" and "Young Americans".

"We believe that by the time that time comes, we would have normalised the situation and we'll sustain that through normal policing."

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