IN PICTURES | Cape Flats residents cheer arrival of army
Army troops entered the Cape Flats on Thursday, Mandela Day, a week after minister of police Bheki Cele announced that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would be deployed to quell escalating gang violence.
The army started their operation in Manenberg, the same suburb where Tasneem Simons (22) was murdered on Monday while taking down her washing. According to News24, 43 people were killed in Cape Town this past weekend. Since November 2018, more than 2,300 people have been murdered in the Western Cape.
When the troops arrived residents cheered. They came out of their homes to watch as police performed raids. SAPS officers searched vehicles while soldiers kept watch.
“The SANDF members will be deployed to support the police to restore law and maintain order in communities that are being terrorised by gangsterism,” said President Cryil Ramaphosa during a response to the budget vote at Parliament on Thursday.
Police and the army then made their way to Hanover Park where they performed more raids. Residents said there was shooting in the area a few hours before the troops arrived and expressed support for the army being deployed on to the Cape Flats. People we spoke to said the violence made them feel like they are being kept “hostage”.
This man pictured above (who asked not to be named) was visiting his partner when their house was raided. He said they agreed with the army being deployed to stop gang violence but he does not agree with them forcefully breaking into their home.
“Where do these guys get the guns from?” asked resident Julia Koen. Koen has lived in Hanover Park for 31 years and says she has seen many children die from gunshot wounds in the courtyard pictured above. Koen says she’s happy with the army deployment. “It’s something we’ve been asking for a long time”.
These were some of the weapons found during the raids.
Over the course of the day, GroundUp saw one person being arrested.
Throughout Hanover Park many soldiers patrolled the streets and fields where the raids were taking place. It is unclear if the army will continue patrolling once the raids have been completed.
As the raids continued, hundreds of children gathered to watch. Soldiers kept the streets closed off. When more troops and military vehicles arrived, children would cheer and clap.