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'Soldiers not the answer'

A local crime and justice expert says deploying troops to gang ridden areas will not solve the problem.

Junaid McKenzie was laid to rest on 28 June 2012 after she was shot dead in gang crossfire. Picture: Nathan Adams/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A local crime and justice expert on Thursday said deploying troops to gang ridden areas like Hanover Park and Lavender Hill was not the answer.

At least 23 people have been killed in Lavender Hill as result of ongoing gang violence in recent months.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday ruled out deploying South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members.

The Community Safety Department and Premier Helen Zille are calling for the army's intervention.

But the Institute for Security Studies' Graham Newham said he was against the idea.

"The police are trained to arrest people, they understand the law. They know how to deal with various criminal acts. Whereas the army is trained to kill and destroy the enemy, so they are not appropriate to deploy in urban areas unless you have an extreme situation."

Newham said disagreements between politicians and police was not helpful.

"It does seem that politics is getting in the way of a satisfactory solution. Part of the problem is that the police is incompetent."

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday called on Zuma to address the gang problem urgently.

Children including women have been caught in the crossfire including a three-year-old child.

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