Cele’s about-turn on deploying troops to curb crime welcomed

Staff Writer | Jul 15, 2019
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has welcomed the government’s change of heart on using the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to ‘stabilise’ communities vulnerable to high levels of violent crime.

Premier Winde’s statement followed a horrific murder toll of 55 people in the province over the first weekend in July.

The victims died by gunshot or stabbing.

Winde said in a statement the province welcomed the deployment of troops ‘to stabilise communities that have been ravaged by a major spike in gang activity and crime’.

‘It is my hope that the SANDF employment over the period ahead in areas which will reportedly include Bonteheuwel, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi East, will see a major reduction in (the high fatality rate).

‘The current situation is unprecedented, and we need to be taking unprecedented steps to ensure that people are safe. It is time to get drastic.’

He noted that police minister Bheke Cele had ‘until recently, maintained that crime is not bad enough on the Cape Flats to warrant the army going in, but we are relieved by and welcome this about-turn’.

He added: ‘This is a clear admission that the police have lost control of the war on crime. 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.’

Winde said 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’.

This would ‘hopefully create a conducive environment for the South African Police to conduct major interventions in these areas to investigate crime, apprehend known criminals, and root out gangsterism, guns and drugs’.


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