Army on the Cape Flats not the solution, Allan Boesak says

25 August 2019 - 17:29 By TIMESLIVE
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

Sending an army to the Cape Flats was not a solution to fight crime, Rev Allan Boesak said in Athlone, Cape Town, on Sunday.

Police minister Bheki Cele announced last month that SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members were being deployed to the Western Cape’s worst-affected crime areas.

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

A month into the operation, Cele praised praised Operation Lockdown for stabilising crime on the Cape Flats, but said it was still "early days" in the intervention.

Speaking on the sidelines of a march by community and religious leaders during an interfaith prayer gathering for peace on the Cape Flats on Sunday, Boesak seemed to disagree with the deployment of the army.

“Sending an army is not a solution. It is at best a short term solution Armies do not exist to come and control communities.  Crime control is the job of the police,” Boesak said.

Boesak said the community had come together to express that it had enough of crime, violence and destruction.

“We are at the point where we want to say to government at different levels - the city, province and national government - that  you on your own clearly cannot find the solutions.

Boesak said government, at every level, must learn to sit down with the chosen leaders of the communities, not just their ward leaders, to talk to them about strategies and solutions to problems faced by the communities.

“Because if the community is not involved in looking for the solution, there would not be a solution,” Boesak said.


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