Cape Town resident and president of a community group called ‘Gatvol’, Fadiel Adams has described President Cyril Ramaphosa extending the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Cape Flats to ensure peace as a waste of resources.
Soldiers were deployed to Cape Town’s crime-ridden townships to counter a surge of ongoing gang violence. The two-month-long deployment was meant to come to an end on Monday, but Ramaphosa decided to extend the deployment by another six months.
In a statement, the president said: “The SANDF will undertake operations in cooperation with the police and will support the prevention and combating of crime and maintenance and preservation of law and order in the Western Cape.”
Adams said it was a total waste of money and resources: “The army is here and our children are dying.”
He said the president had not spoken to the people in the community which had, in turn, resulted in a knee jerk reaction.
“If the president was serious about this, the answer is very simple. We need an army of social workers, psychologists, skill developers, job opportunities. This is an army that we need. This army that has cost up to millions, for two months? We could have put the money to good use.”
He said the army came to set up a roadblock and later left.
“This problem is much deeper than patrolling for a few hours. I don’t think the president understands how deep this problem is, how infested our communities are.”
Adams believes education is the only manner to combat the issue of challenged families and violent children. He warned that soon Cape Town would feel how unhappy residents were.
Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has welcomed the extension of the deployment of the military.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith told IOL that the presence of the military helped compensate for the 4,500 police officers that had been lost in the province over the last four years.
“We would also like to suggest that we review the deployment strategy for the military and Operation Lockdown and actually implement the name ‘lockdown’ and ensure that we deploy the military independently of SAPS and that the military not escort SAPS on operations, but instead maintain an independent peacekeeping presence in suburbs with high levels of violence (especially overnight) and help achieve an effective lockdown of the movement of high-flyers with outstanding warrants and illegal firearms and drugs in the suburbs to help stabilise the situation in each.”