Almost 400 people were arrested in joint law enforcement operations which included the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) around the Cape metropole since Thursday, police said on Sunday.
Spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said that 191 wanted suspects were among the 395 arrests made between Thursday and Sunday as the forces descended around the metropole.
Their evidence list includes 391.25 grams of cannabis, 237.30 grams of tik, known internationally as crystal meth, 163 Mandrax tablets, one firearm, two zip guns, ammunition, and a whopping 75 366 litres of booze.
Working under the codename “Operation Lockdown”, the initiatives began in July as a response to a plea for intervention regarding serious and violent crime.
The SANDF arrived on July 18 amid howls of outrage and anguish over gang shootings, to provide support to the police and other law enforcement agencies carrying out arrests and searches.
Up to 1 320 soldiers provided support to the police at a cost of R23.3m, but there is uncertainty over how much longer they will stay.
In the meantime, Western Cape Safety MEC Albert Fritz expressed concern over the Western Cape’s apparent lack of facilities to destroy seized illegal firearms.
He said that the weapons are taken to Gauteng to be destroyed in an operation twice a year.
“SAPS recovered 1 037 illegal firearms between November 2018 and August 2019 in the Western Cape,” Fritz said in a statement on Sunday.
“Given the number of firearms and ammunition that are frequently seized, it is problematic and a threat to the province’s safety that these are only destroyed twice a year.”
He feared a backlog in destruction could lead to the firearms going back into circulation.
He called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently develop suitable premises in the Western Cape to fast track the destruction of illegal firearms in the Western Cape.