Police Minister Bheki Cele says work done by the South African Police Service (SAPS), together with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in gang-ridden areas in the Western Cape has resulted in more than 1,000 arrests.
This on the same day that Western Cape forensic services recorded the deadliest weekend in the Cape Town metro, with 47 murders over the weekend, since the army’s arrival in mid-July.
According to Cele, 1,004 people have been arrested over the past few weeks since the army was deployed to 10 areas identified as hotspots.
Of those, 806 were already in the system, wanted for various crimes ranging from murder, attempted murder, hijacking and theft.
The minister hosted a media briefing at the Mitchells Plain base camp, where he received an operational briefing on the support given by the SANDF to police over the last few weeks.
Cele also said that once the SANDF is withdrawn, a determination will be made on whether or not they would be needed again.
But he was again at pains to reiterate that the deployment of the defence force was merely a temporary solution.
“We need to be ready to police once SANDF members have been withdrawn,” Cele said.
The deployment, which commenced on July 18, will run up until September 16 at a cost of R23 million.
“It’s not an ideal world to have soldiers in communities,” Cele said, before adding that it had simply become clear from communities across the Cape Flats that no life should be at risk when it came to violence, hence the deployment of the army.
The 10 precincts identified as the most dangeous, based on attempted murder statistics, were Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.
On Monday, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said that 47 murders had been recorded by forensic services in the metro over the weekend – with 27 shootings, 13 stabbings and seven murders by other means.
Winde said they would be writing to police management to ask for a full report-back on the role and effectiveness of the SANDF since their deployment, as well as the police’s plan to fight crime going forward.