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SANDF deployment to WC gang hotspots still up in the air

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula formally requested that the SANDF be deployed to areas like Nyanga following a spate of headline-grabbing crimes, including the murder of 11 people in Philippi.

FILE: SANDF soldiers. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - It seems increasingly likely that the Police Minister will have to disappoint communities in gang-plagued suburbs in the Western Cape.

Fikile Mbalula formally requested that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) be deployed to areas like Nyanga following a spate of headline-grabbing crimes, including the murder of 11 people in Philippi.

Last week, he told residents that he was confident there would be boots on the ground this week or next.

But the Presidency has yet to receive the request from the Defence Department.

Mbalula, speaking on the sidelines of a community safety Imbizo in Nyanga last week, said that he had formally requested an SANDF deployment and the Defence Department told Eyewitness News they had received the request.

But weeks on, the Presidency has still not received the formal request from the Department of Defence.

That's because the deployment is the subject of an intense operational assessment and only once that is complete will the request be sent to the President.

As the commander-in-chief of the defence force, Jacob Zuma has the final say on if and when soldiers will be deployed.

Defense Ministry officials were unable to confirm to Eyewitness News when the SANDF's assessment might be complete.