Military to enter gang wars
In a bold move, the military and other state agencies are being roped in to fight gang warfare in Western and Eastern Cape.
Gang hot spots are believed to have been prioritised.
The Times's sister newspaper, The Herald, has seen a national order instructing the military and state agencies to form a provincial priority committee that will clamp down on gang warfare and drug hot spots.
The order was sent to the Eastern and Western Cape police commissioners by National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure chairman Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela.
The order also spells out what roles the SA National Defence Force, the home affairs, correctional services and justice departments, the National Prosecuting Authority and other organisations will play.
President Jacob Zuma was moved to action by Western Cape premier and DA national leader Helen Zille who asked him last month to deploy the military to curb gang warfare, specifically on the Cape Flats.
The instruction to establish the team comes weeks after Zuma asked Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to prioritise gang warfare in the two provinces.
The ministers and their advisers met in the middle of last month to discuss ways to curb gangsterism. A four-page document, "Combating gangsterism in Western Cape and Eastern Cape", came about as a result of the meeting.
The document spells out the roles each entity will play. The defence force will provide airborne and logistical support and accommodation for police.
National police spokesman Colonel Vishnu Naidoo refused to comment on the order, saying it was strictly confidential.
"This is the reason why we want the Information Bill to be passed," he said. "These are operational issues and I do not know how they got into the hands of the media."