Zainulabideen van der Schyff, spokesperson for the Kensington Community Police Forum, says they believe the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) should be brought in to support local police and strengthen the SAPS forces whose primary mandate is to protect citizens.
“We maintain that calling in the army will indeed be effective in curbing violent gang-related crime, however, this will only bring temporary relief as was the case with Operation Fiela (in 2015), that saw the gang violence again escalate after the withdrawal of the army,” says Van der Schyff.
“Special emphasis should be put into placing and implementing methods that will still uphold the human dignity, safety and security of civilians in the Western Cape.”
Van der Schyff also says the root causes of crime need to be tackled.
“To effectively alleviate the Western Cape from the grim reality of crime and violence, the Kensington CPF maintains that the root causes should be fixed, addressing the social ills which create a breeding ground for gangs, drug use and crime.”
Rafique Foflonker, spokesperson for the Mitchells Plain Cluster says while they are happy the request has been made, they also do not believe it is a long-term solution.
He says there are concerns about the skills set of an army officer and hopes that soldiers would be taking direction from police who are trained to deal with violence in an urban setting.
“It is a great short-term solution but in the long term the police ministry needs to look at better accountability and resourcing and capacitating police officers,” he says.