Army deployed to help police in the gang-ravaged Cape Flats

12 July 2019 - 12:53 By Nico Gous
Soldiers deployed to Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats in August 2011. Now soldiers have been ordered back to the Cape Flats to support police as crime levels rise.
Soldiers deployed to Lavender Hill on the Cape Flats in August 2011. Now soldiers have been ordered back to the Cape Flats to support police as crime levels rise.
Image: Esa Alexander

The SA military will deploy soldiers to gang-ravaged communities on the Cape Flats from July to October to keep the peace.

“The SANDF [SA Defence Force] will deploy a battalion with support elements during Operation Prosper," SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement on Friday.

"It must be noted that the SANDF gets requests, from time to time, to assist the SAPS in crime prevention operations. This is executed in line with one of the government outcomes of making sure that all South Africans are, and feel safe," Dlamini said.

He added that the army is guided by the constitution and the Defence Act of 2002. The constitution says that only the president can deploy soldiers:

  • In co-operation with the police service;
  • In defence of the republic; or
  • in fulfillment of an international obligation.

City Cape Town community safety MEC JP Smith said on Friday hundreds of people have died unnecessarily because of the delay in deploying soldiers to the area.

Police minister Bheki Cele said in his budget vote speech in parliament on Thursday that President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the green light for the army to help the police.

The announcement comes less than two weeks since reports that rising murder statistics put Cape Town on course to become one the world's most dangerous cities.

Cele said soldiers would work with the police for at least three months for cordons, searches, observation, foot and vehicle patrols, and provide air support.

- Additional reporting by Dave Chambers


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