Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane is expected to lead thousands of Cape Town residents in a march against crime to the Nyanga police station on Thursday.
The official opposition said in a statement that the African National Congress (ANC) needed to “honour their commitment to deploy the army to crime-ridden communities in Cape Town”.
“On Monday the latest victim of crime – a young father – was gunned down at the Eastridge Clinic in Mitchells Plain, just metres away from the nearest police station. Cape Town’s poorest and most vulnerable communities continue to live in constant fear of gangs and drug dealers, and the rampant crime which results from this activity.”
DA spokesperson Portia Adams said the ANC national government had deliberately under-resourced the DA-run Western Cape province, and criticised its failure to deploy the army despite several promises by then police minister Fikile Mbalula. “He said this would happen by Christmas of last year. But since then his successor, Bheki Cele, has completely backtracked on this promise.”
Capetonians from all walks of life have gathered in their numbers to take part in the #SendTheArmyNow March.
They are here to tell the ANC government to stop playing politics with the lives of our people and deploy the army at once.
Enough is enough! pic.twitter.com/5VOfkU41F2
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) July 19, 2018
But the ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs has hit back at the accusations, and said in a strongly worded statement that Maimane’s call for military intervention was based on “ignorance”.
“There is no evidence, anywhere in the world, that shows that deploying [the] military to fight crime works. In most cases, the longer the military stays, they become part of the problem, with a contest between deaths by gangs and deaths by [the] military,” said Jacobs.
“We want to make it clear therefore to Maimane that fighting crime is a complicated affair that is not simply a matter of ‘my gun is bigger than yours’, something that clearly eludes Maimane.”
He said R60 million allocated to tackle gang activity in gang hotspots needed to be used effectively with detectives who could blend into the community, and crime intelligence to identify and isolate gangsters.