News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
3 minute read
18 Jul 2018
1:16 pm

DA to march for military intervention to solve crime in Western Cape

Makhosandile Zulu

The ANC, however, says deploying the army will endanger the lives of civilians and will not solve crime in communities.

SANDF file photo.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will lead a march from Manenberg Police Station to the station in Nyanga, in Cape Town, on Thursday, calling on the government to deploy the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to support the police in crime-ridden communities in the province.

The DA posted a statement on its social platforms Wednesday morning: “The police are under-resourced, under-trained & unable to protect us. Nationally, the police to person ratio is one police officer to every 369 residents. In the Western Cape, it’s worse: one to 560. In Nyanga, it’s worse: one to 628. If the SAPS can’t protect us send the army now.

“In 2016/17, Nyanga police station logged the highest number of murders, sexual offences, assaults, car-jackings and attempted sexual offences in the entire country.”

The party said it was fighting for a safer country.

The ANC, however, said sending the army to crime hotspots in the Western Cape would endanger the lives of ordinary residents.

The governing party’s Yonela Diko told Jacaranda FM that deploying the army to crime-ridden communities in the province would not only endanger the lives of civilians, but would also be a temporary solution.

“Because of the inability to isolate who is the criminal and who is not in communities, when you bring in people whose mandate is simply warfare that will create an urban warfare which will naturally kill both civilians and some criminals, and the criminals tend to lie low while the military are there and because they can’t be there permanently, the military, and when the military moves, they [criminals] are back at it,” Diko said.

He said intelligence gathering by law enforcement was what was needed to identify and isolate criminals, saying the DA’s call was stupid, foolish, and was a dangerous publicity stunt because it went against past experiences and advice that had been shared on the matter.

Diko added the DA should not spend half of the monies allocated for crime fighting on purchasing surveillance cameras, but rather should budget more for beefing up police units in crime hotspots. He said the funds the DA spent for crime fighting added up to a total of R60 million a year.

“So we are saying that what will be required is that these teams, special unit teams which are going to focus both on intelligence and the ability to identify criminals and apprehend them, that is the only way to fight crime in communities not to bring warfare into an urban area,” Diko said.

The Western Cape DA-led government has previously urged its national counterpart led by the ANC to deploy the army in the province to help the police effectively deal with crime.

In an editorial for the Daily Maverick penned last year, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille wrote that she had made an application for the army to intervene in the worst crime-affected areas in the province. Zille stated her application was rejected by then president Jacob Zuma and the then ministers of police and defence.

“I made this application in terms of Section 201 (2) of the Constitution read together with 19 of the Defence Act, which enables the defence force to be employed in cooperation with SAPS to prevent and combat crime and preserve law and order within the boundaries of South Africa,” Zille wrote.

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