Cape SANDF deployment - Crime deterrent or a case of 'hell might break loose'?

CapeTalk's Africa Melane spoke to Ntsikelelo Breakfast from Stellenbosch University's School of Security and African Studies and Nyanga community policing forum chairperson Martin Makasi for two very different takes.

FILE: A SANDF vehicle seen in Johannesburg on 9 November 2013 during a parade. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Late on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the green light for the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in areas of Cape Town where crime, gang violence and killings have surged to unprecedented levels.

The ten identified precincts include Mitchells Plain, Delft, Philippi, Nyanga and Khayelitsha.

A crime summit is also taking place over the weekend, which includes a number of national ministers.

CapeTalk's Africa Melane spoke to Ntsikelelo Breakfast from Stellenbosch University's School of Security and African Studies and Nyanga community policing forum chairperson Martin Makasi for two very different takes on this development.

Dr Breakfast acknowledged that the army is expected to provide a support service to the South African Police Service (SAPS), but says this might turn out very differently in practice.

"If a conflict breaks out and you have military officers - I'm sorry to say this, but hell might break loose because then you have people who don't use rubber bullets, who are using live ammunition and that might spill over negatively to civilians.

"Yes, they won't be searching people's houses, they won't be arresting people because they are not trained to do that, but the capability that they have is dislocated in the sense they are displaced if they are going now to manoeuvre at an operational level."

He also emphasised the point that the SANDF deployment, initially scheduled for three months, is not a long-term solution.

"I think that SAPS needs to beef up its capabilities. They need to improve their training because I'm told that some of the police officers are also traumatised - they don't want to be deployed to those problematic areas, so something needs to be done."

Listen to the audio below for more.