The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will help the police contain gangsterism in the Western Cape's 10 police precincts with the highest attempted murder rates.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for soldiers to enter gang-infested areas on the Cape Flats.
The SANDF's deployment in these areas will last three months.
The 10 precincts identified by Cele are:
- Bishop Lavis;
- Mitchells Plain;
- Elsies River;
- Kraaifontein; and
Combined, the 10 areas contributed to 42% of attempted murders in the province.
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Police officers conducted early morning raids at 02:00 in Philippi on Friday. News24 understands that army personnel would start arriving in the hotspot areas after 14:00 on Friday.
Cele on Thursday evening said he and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had asked Ramaphosa to approve the deployment of the defence force to help the police in a stabilisation operation in the Western Cape's ganglands.
"The recurring scenes of scattered dead bodies in the streets of Philippi, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga are unbearable. It is on that score that I challenge all generals in the SAPS to surrender their uniforms if this situation does not improve," Cele said in his budget speech.
At a press conference after the debate on his budget, Cele said the following of the SANDF's involvement: "They're here for us to police, to make sure not so many people die."
'Led and commanded' by police
Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution provides that only the president may authorise the employment of the defence force, in cooperation with the police.
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said the operation would be "led and commanded" by the police.
They will focus on the following:
- Troops for cordon and search, strong points in hot spots, observation, foot and vehicle patrols;
- Air support for troops and identification of substance manufacturing labs; and
- Any other operations that may be determined from time to time.
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