By Loushe Jordaan Gilbert
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) believes Police Minister Bheki Cele acted hastily upon his announcement that the SANDF would be deployed to the Western Cape.
Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for soldiers to enter certain areas in the Western Cape for a period of three months.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said the announcement was a bit premature and eliminated the element of surprise.
“We can’t make every movement known. This is firstly a raid and an issue of security. Every step and the exact moment the army will be on the ground can’t be made known,” he stressed.
He said the SANDF members are still undergoing training and will only be deployed once training has been completed.
“Although our members arrived in Cape Town on Friday, we still have to do some training to be fully equipped to help SAPS. The troops are receiving “mission readiness training” ahead of their deployment. Once training has been completed only then will our members be deployed to areas where assistance is needed,” he said.
He said the training includes a briefing on the areas in which the troops will be active. Mgobozi added that the preparation was necessary to ensure troops were ready before they headed into Cape Town’s crime-ridden suburbs.
The 10 Cape Town precincts identified for support by the SANDF are Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.
Mgobozi stressed that although Cele announced areas where the SANDF will be deployed, everything still needs to be above board before any location can be disclosed. They will have to follow due process to establish where their members situated.
VOC News spoke to ordinary people on the streets of Cape Town to hear their views.
“In my opinion it might work but gangsters are so clever nowadays that they would probably stop the violence for the three months that the army will be roaming the Cape Flats,” Aneesa Carelse* said.
“It is a wise move, but why only now in light of all the killings that took place in Philippi East,” Said Mike Noble*.
“I am all for them being here, they are in a position to assist SAPS and that’s generally what we need,” said Grace Bailey*.
Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety Albert Fritz said the deployment of the SANDF is a massive relief for the people of the province who can now look forward to being safe in their own communities and homes.