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CT community policing forums call for state of emergency in gang-stricken areas

For months, community policing forums (CPFs) have been calling for the deployment of more police officers to areas severely affected by gang violence due to the rise in gang-related murders this year.

FILE: Members of the SA Police Service’s Anti-Gang Unit are seen in Hanover Park, Cape Town, during the launch of the specialised unit on 2 November 2018. Picture: @SAgovnews/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - As soldiers prepare to enter gang-ravaged communities in Cape Town, crime-stopping organisations are demanding that a state of emergency be declared in areas with the most gang-related violence.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has not revealed its plans about its movements after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced its deployment to the Mother City on Thursday.

For months, community policing forums (CPFs) have been calling for the deployment of more police officers to areas severely affected by gang violence due to the rise in gang-related murders this year.

Last weekend, 11 people were murdered in the township of Philippi.

Six women and five men were found shot dead.

Cele confirmed to Eyewitness News on Thursday night that the army would be deployed to gang-affected areas.

At the same, a crime summit was will be held from Saturday with seven ministers expected to attend.

CPFs were demanding that a state of emergency be declared in crime hot spots and gang-infested areas.

It's still unclear exactly when the army will hit the ground, but there was some limited defence force activity on Friday.

The South African Human Rights Commission said, while it was in favour of the army being deployed to assist police in combatting crime in hotspots in Cape Town, that could not be a long-term solution.

The involvement of the SANDF comes months after carnage with the murder rate far exceeding 2,000 people in the Western Cape since the start of the year.

The commission's Chris Nissen said: “We welcome any initiative by any law enforcement agency to do whatever they can do to stabilise the situation. However, we are saying this must be a short-term measure to back up the police’s mandate to combat crime. This can’t be a lasting solution.”

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