"I am a skollie, but I make sure my children don't starve," said a burly Cape Town man explaining why he has chosen a life of crime as Anti-Gang Units, Stabilisation Units and the SA National Defence roll through some of the Cape Town's so-called hot-spot suburbs.
"Look at these hands," says the burly fresh-faced man holding his large hands in front of his face claw-like.
"I am a carpenter, but do you think I can find work?" he asks, after threatening all sorts of trouble if a photograph of him is taken or he is identified.
In his thick slang, he explains in Afrikaans that once anybody is caught for any crime and has done any time, they can forget about putting in formal job applications at mainstream places of work.
"I have been to prison. I can put in the papers and I won't get the work.
"This lightie here," he says, pointing next him, "He will get a job. He has not been to prison.
"But what about me? I'm a skollie.
"But I make sure my children don't starve.
"At the end of the day, it is up to me to put something on the table," said the man.
He was speaking after Cape Town's Stabilisation Unit showed DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and other party officials what they do to help curb the gang violence and crime that has escalated to the point of the SA National Defence Force arriving to assist in some suburbs of the Cape Flats.
The SANDF has joined the SA Police Service to support police as they do search and seize operations or carry out arrest warrants against people wanted for crimes.
Earlier, Safety MEC Albert Fritz had said that 25 people died this past weekend in the province as a result of murder, compared with 43 the weekend before, so all these units seem to be having a positive effect.
Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie called it a "miracle" that nobody had been shot dead in the suburb, since the Stabilisation Unit was launched on July 2.
Many who are against the SANDF supporting the police feel that a social development approach would be better.
The Western Cape Premier Alan Winde announced a range of measures last week that departments would do to improve safety and wellbeing in the province.
As the man spoke outside the neat house, the group of one, then two, then three men suddenly inconspicuously expanded to at least 16 men, all wearing freshly washed and pressed clothing.
Women in the neat house that had seemed empty from outside, left very discreetly while the man spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity, surrounded by the rest of the group.
"The government gives people AllPay, but what money is that," the man asked of the SA Social Security Agency's grants.
"I know what I am doing is illegal, and is not right. But who is to blame for this? The government," he said. "I want to change, but how?" he asked.
He was reticent about sharing the nature of his conviction.