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What happened to promise to deploy soldiers to gang-ridden communities?

In October, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula went on record as saying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would be deployed to curb rampant gang violence.

FILE: Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – A promise to deploy soldiers to communities to counter gang violence before Christmas has yet to be realised.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula made the commitment during a visit to Nyanga in October.

However, when General Khehla John Sitole was appointed as National Police Commissioner in November, he revealed he had discussions with the minister about putting the plan on hold to give his new crime vision a chance.

In October, Mbalula went on record as saying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would be deployed to curb rampant gang violence.

“It is going to happen, we are processing it in terms of operational plan. Thereafter, the president will give us a green light. It is going to happen, it will happen before Christmas.”

Now it appears the new police commissioner's crime-fighting plan has trumped the minister's, as the Presidency is yet to address the request.

The police minister made the commitment following an apparent surge in gang shootings and killings in various communities, including Manenberg, Hanover Park, Elsies River Mitchell's Plain, Philippi East and Nyanga.

The lack of military involvement has, however, not stopped the police's anti-gang operations and last week seven key underworld figures were taken into custody.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)