South Africa: Calls to Extend Army Deployment to Cape Flats As SANDF Claims Success

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed to the Cape Flats to help the police quell gang violence (file photo)

With only weeks remaining of the SANDF's deployment to the Cape Flats, it's hard to assess the impact of the troops' presence. But on Wednesday, one point raised by cops, a colonel and community members was consistent: the military deployment should be extended.

"The soldiers are here, and we're happy," Nyanga Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Martin Makasi told a packed room at the Lentegeur police station in Mitchells Plain on Wednesday 28 August.

Makasi's sentiment was echoed by other community safety representatives at a briefing intended to help MPs assess the impact of the deployment of the SANDF to gang hot spots on the Cape Flats.

"We appreciate the presence of the army," veteran Elsies River activist Imran Mukkadam said. "In our community, it has sent a new message of hope."

From the SANDF's side, too, the conviction was expressed that the army deployment, code-named Operation Prosper, is having a positive impact.

Colonel Keith Aarons sketched the context of the troops' arrival on the Cape Flats on the weekend of 19 July.

"Using deception and surprise, we deployed in Manenberg," he said. "It is my humble opinion that that weekend, we saved some lives in Manenberg."

CPF members murmured...

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