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Zille wants army in CPT gangland

Gang-related violence has forced residents to call upon the army for protection.

Gang-related violence has forced residents to call upon the army for protection.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille wants the army to be deployed to gang-ravaged areas, echoing the calls of several communities grappling with gang violence.

Nearly two dozen people, including innocent bystanders, have been shot dead in Cape Town over the past six weeks.

Lavender Hill, Hanover Park and Gugulethu are just some of the areas currently plagued by gang wars.

This includes eight-year-old Junaid Mckenzie who was hit by a stray bullet in Steenberg at the end of June.

Zille said that police could not deal with the situation on their own.

"What we need critically is for the army to come in, to restore the peace through patrols, they have to be under the command of the SAPS. The army cannot be a law unto itself here; we don't have a civil war. We do have a crisis, in Hanover Park specifically."

Meanwhile, a pastor in Hanover Park, Isaac Rubyn, said people were living in absolute fear.

"Our people are afraid to stand up in court and say who is who because these are the same [culprits] who have to come back into these areas. They fear for their lives."

Two people, including a 12-year-old boy, were wounded by stray bullets in Steenberg, Cape Town, this weekend.

Hanover Park residents have now called for the army to step in following months of gang related shootings.

The Western Cape's Community Policing Board's Hanif Loonat reckons it is not a bad idea.

"If the said community feels that there is a need for the army deployment, so be it."

He also believes there needs to be a summit on gangsterism, so that a strategic plan can be tabled to stop the violence.

Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said it is not only Hanover Park residents who want the army to take action.

"They are asking in the townships, Lavender Hill and Hanover Park."

He said several communities feel they cannot tackle gangsterism alone.