The announcement by Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, requesting the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help combat crime in the country is a good move.
We are virtually living in war zones. Criminals are running amok and terrorizing communities.
These terrorists have no respect for life or property. Police are finding it difficult to cope. As I often write: “Drastic times need drastic action.”
Police are under-resourced. The SANDF has much equipment and the soldiers can assist with visibility. The Air Force also has many helicopters.
However, the government must ensure that the SANDF works within the framework of the law. They must be deployed as prescribed by the Constitution
It’s important to understand that the army can’t replace the police or do their job.
The advantage of having the army in these areas is that the extra hands will enable the police service to do thorough investigations on pending cases.
Soldiers may not be legally allowed to carry out arrests and execute search warrants, but they can back-up the police.
The government previously refused to bring in the SANDF. Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, called on soldiers to be brought in some time ago.
Mbalula is tackling the crime problem head-on. That’s what we need. Confront the brutal facts and act!
STATEMENT BY THE SAPS
The Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula has requested the support of South African National Defense Force (SANDF) to combat crime to two of the most crime stubborn provinces, Gauteng and Western Cape.
Minister Mbalula notes that in recent past South Africa has been engulfed by an insurgence of extremely violent crime that has made communities feel and be unsafe. The levels of violence in recent months involves the use of weapons of war in the commissions of serious crimes where even innocent by-standers and children have fallen victim of gang related violent crimes.
“When I visited the community of Elsies River, one community leader referred to the terror caused by gangs as an act of terrorism, I want to tell the people of Elsies River that I heard you, and I am acting,” Mbalula said.
The most recent incidents of increased violence and shooting incidents and the increase in gangsterism activities in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces are becoming a matter of huge concern.
Incidents in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces are severely impacting on the following areas:
The following crimes, included but not limited to, are being committed:
– Murder and attempted murder
– Robbery and robbery aggravating
– Assault common and Assault GBH
– Truck and car theft and high-jacking
– Child abuse and neglect
– Abuse of controlled chemicals
– Drug related crimes
Violent incidents and gangsterism activities is severely impacting on an increase of deaths of innocent bystanders as well as impacting on criminal activities, the social environment and the safety and security of communities.
“Our children have a right to grow in a peaceful environment, and as Police, we have a duty to protect that right.” Minister Mbalula added.
The following areas were identified as Hotspots and are affected the most: Gauteng as a whole and the Western Cape, specifically Cape Town.
It has been decided that an urgent additional steps must be taken in order to interdepartmentally manage the current scourge of crime in general, drug related offences and the negative impact this has on the community of the Gauteng and Western Cape Provinces.
Stabilisation and combating of the these criminal activities are within the mandate of the South African Police Service but due to the large groupings and military training of some of the perpetrators, the South African Defence Force (SANDF) is requested to assist, in the mentioned Provinces.
“We will never fail our people, we will squeeze the space for criminals, and we will liberate our people from prisons of fear,” Mbalula added.
*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime and Namola’s Chief Ambassador