The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has confirmed that the deployment of the army into gang-infested areas on the Cape Flats will not go ahead on Friday, but will proceed as soon as it is feasible.
On Friday, SANDF head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini told News24 the order, announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele during his budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday, was still definitely going ahead.
"It will go ahead as soon as we have all the necessary paperwork in order," Dlamini said.
On Thursday, Cele told Parliament that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the green light to the request to send army personnel into 10 precincts in the Western Cape that are known for its high attempted murder rates.
The deployment is meant to last for three months.
The 10 precincts identified by Cele are:
- Bishop Lavis;
- Mitchells Plain;
- Elsies River;
Combined, the 10 areas contribute to 42% of attempted murders in the province.
Police officers conducted early morning raids in Philippi at 02:00 on Friday.
On Thursday evening, Cele said he and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had asked Ramaphosa to approve the deployment of the SANDF to help the police with a stabilisation operation in the Western Cape's ganglands.
"The recurring scenes of scattered dead bodies in the streets of Philippi, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga are unbearable. It is on that score that I challenge all generals in the SAPS to surrender their uniforms if this situation does not improve," Cele said in his budget speech.
'Led and commanded' by police
At a press conference after the debate on his budget, Cele said the following of the SANDF's involvement: "They are here for us to police, to make sure not so many people die."
Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution provides that only the president may authorise the deployment of the SANDF, in co-operation with the police.
National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole said the operation would be "led and commanded" by the police.
They will focus on the following:
- Troops for cordon and search, strong points in hot spots, observation as well as foot and vehicle patrols;
- Air support for troops and identification of substance manufacturing labs;
- Any other operations that may be determined from time to time.