Police Minister Bheki Cele, announced on Thursday that South African troops will be deployed in Cape Town to help quell rising gang violence.
Cele said while delivering his department’s 2019/2020 financial budget in Parliament that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will join in operation in Cape Town’s gang-infested areas, beginning from Friday.
He said that the deployment of troops in Cape Town came as requested by the local communities and was approved by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Last weekend, at least 13 people, including six women, were shot dead in Philippi, Cape Town in what was believed to be gang-related violence.
This prompted calls for the deployment of troops to help quell gang violence in the city, the minister adding that the situation cannot continue.
Cele said the anti-gang operation will target regular gangs and illegal firearms, including people who are out on bail.
“We want the real stuff, not the pushers of the drugs,’’ he said.
He added the deployment was for three months and can be renewed to ensure sustainability.
Cele had previously turned down repeated calls for the deployment of troops to help quell gang violence in Cape Town.
He claimed that the army was not trained to deal with civilians, and the rate of crime in the city has not reached the point that necessitates the deployment of the SANDF.
The city of Cape Town has been ravaged by gangs for a long time and every year, dozens of people are killed in gang violence.
In 2018, Ramaphosa launched an anti-gang unit in Cape Town, but the unit has proved insufficient to stem gang violence in the city.