Deadly Gangs want army to leave: Military deployed in Cape Town townships

 

Armed forces have been deployed in Manenberg, Hanover Park on Thursday after two weeks of waiting for military intervention.

The delay in the deployment was said to be implemented so the army could take advantage of the element of surprise.

Military officers were spotted moving through the streets and were greeted by smiles from residents who came out of their homes to see the soldiers.

A spate of 13 murders in these known gang hotspots spurred authorities to send in the SANDF.

Residents have accused the police of being incompetent and hope soldiers will be able to manage crime in their neighbourhoods.

Phillipi East residents say three months of planned military intervention won’t be enough.

Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said an operation of this nature can’t be successful without the cooperation of several sectors, but especially communities affected by gangsterism.

“This is the defence force of a democratic South Africa, a defence force that has been involved in peace-keeping operations in various parts of the continent and which has played a critical role in supporting South African Police in similar crime-fighting operations.”

With SANDF troops finally on the ground in gang and crime hot spots on Thursday, the Western Cape government has put R5m “on the table” for the resurrection of police reservists.

In his State of the Province Address, Premier Alan Winde painted a picture of a severely stretched SAPS in the province.

He explained what the province’s own safety plans were, and have been, as the soldiers Police Minister Bheki Cele had promised were deployed on the Cape Flats.

“The reality is that many of our communities are defined by fear,” Winde told the legislature.

Various provincial officials have begged for more police, but Cele stated last week at least 60 000 more police officials were needed throughout the country to meet the basic ratio of of one police officer for every 200 people.

Last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched a specialised Anti-Gang Unit, and the province’s police have been using 72-hour task force for certain operations in hot spots.

The current ratio is one officer for every 383 people in South Africa. Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz had put the province’s ratio at 1:509. This means the province has had to find other ways to curb crime and gangsterism.

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