As army deployment is delayed, 43 murdered over bloody Cape Town weekend

15 July 2019 - 18:45
By Aron Hyman
A young child carrying a toy gun runs through Marikana in Cape Town during a massacre by a criminal gang two years ago.
Image: David Harrison A young child carrying a toy gun runs through Marikana in Cape Town during a massacre by a criminal gang two years ago.

The looming deployment of a battalion of SANDF troops did not hamper criminals from bringing terror to streets of Cape Town.

It was another bloody weekend in the city.

While police minister Bheki Cele boasted about the arrest of 141 suspects at a crime summit in Paarl on Sunday afternoon, it has emerged that 43 people were killed between Friday and Monday.

This was also despite a heightened police presence in some of Cape Town's most violent areas, such as Philippi where 13 people were killed the previous weekend.

In one case at the weekend, three people were injured in Grassy Park after police and suspects exchanged gunfire.

"Circumstances surrounding a shooting incident that occurred on July 13 (Saturday) in Grassy Park are under investigation, an attempted murder case was opened for investigation by Ipid," said police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.

"According to reports the incident occurred at 11.30pm. Police responded to the complaint and a shooting between the police and the suspects occurred. Three people aged 18, 26  and 27 were shot and wounded," he said.

A battalion of SANDF troops from 8 SA Infantry Battalion and a number of support platoons were flown to Cape Town on Friday ahead of the deployment of military personnel to support the police in clampdown operations to try to curb the spiralling murder rate in Cape Town.

The troops are expected to be deployed to areas where gang violence has contributed significantly to the high murder rate.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said the correct authorisation and paperwork still needed to be completed before they could be deployed.

Winde said that the weekend's murders happened despite a National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) operation on Thursday night in the areas across the Cape Flats and "even despite a patrol conducted by Cele himself".

"We welcome the fact that 143 arrests were made, and guns and drugs confiscated, but despite this heavier police presence, and Minister Bheki Cele himself going out on patrol, 43 people were still murdered - some of them in the very areas where the operation was targeted," he said.

"We will be placing watching briefs on these 143 arrests, to ensure that these cases are properly investigated and prosecuted," he added.

Of the 43 people who were murdered, at least 25 were shot.

Addressing the media at the end of the weekend crime summit on Sunday, Cele said that he and Winde had been threatening to take each other to court but that after the positive dialogue between the two of them over the weekend the intergovernmental dispute was now "off the table".

Winde disagreed saying, “During the weekend’s crime summit, I committed to working with SAPS to ensure that policing in this province is a top priority for all concerned. However, Minister Cele has taken this to mean that we have withdrawn our intergovernmental dispute. The dispute is still in place," he said. 

The dispute revolves around policing resources in the provincial police which Winde believes is understaffed. 

"We agreed to work together and committed that our government will partner in any way possible to make this province safer. We will discuss the intergovernmental dispute and various other commitments made during the Crime Summit, at our cabinet meeting on Wednesday. We will also be meeting with the national police commissioner, General Sithole, later this week. We will only withdraw the dispute if we can see a working partnership, with agreements in place that will make this province safer," he said.

“This weekend’s murder rate is proof that there is no time to waste in deploying the army, and I call on Minister Cele and President Ramaphosa to get the paperwork out of the way as quickly as possible so that no more lives are wasted,” added Winde.