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SANDF lands in gang-stricken Cape Town

On Thursday night, Police Minister Bheki Cele announced President Cyril Ramaphosa has given the go-ahead for the defence force to be deployed.

Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has landed in Cape Town as part of a plan to assist police in the fight against violence.

On Thursday night, Police Minister Bheki Cele announced President Cyril Ramaphosa has given the go-ahead for the defence force to be deployed.

There has been a mixed reaction with some questioning whether the army would be able to curb violence and gangsterism.

The army's involvement came after months of carnage on the Cape Flats with the murder rate in the Western Cape far exceeding 2,000 people since the start of 2019.

Authorities hoped their involvement would buy enough time to turn the tide on gangsterism in the Cape metro and several crime-fighting groups have welcomed the decision to bring in the army.

Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said ministers in the security cluster would announce a high-level action plan to address the matter after the three-month window period for defence force deployment comes to an end.

Fritz said an inter-ministerial task team would share intelligence on gang activity.

His spokesperson Cayla Murray said they also wanted to ensure social projects were rolled out.

“The Western Cape government will activate each department’s programmes once stabilisation has been achieved in the majority of gang-ridden communities. This collaboration will report to both provincial government and the premier.”

Fritz believed social initiatives were needed to ensure young people have options like joining sports clubs instead of gangs.

He said programmes encouraging job creation and participation in school and sports activities would help once the army is withdrawn.

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