Soldiers will remain on the troubled Cape Flats for another six months assisting police in combating especially gang-related crime.
The extension was announced on Monday, the day the first presidentially authorised two month long military deployment was scheduled to finish. Soldiers will continue to be deployed to Delft, Mitchell’s Plain, Philippi, Manenberg, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Kraaifontein – all areas affected by crime and gang violence – until 31 March next year.
According to an official Presidency statement: “Members of the regular and reserve forces of the SANDF will undertake operations in co-operation with the police and will support the prevention and combating of crime and maintenance and preservation of law and order in the Western Cape.
“The President has, in compliance with the Constitution, informed the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Thandi Modise, and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo, of the extended deployment of armed forces.
“President Ramaphosa authorised the original employment of the SANDF in July 2019 for a two-month period ending today, 16 September.”
The Department of Defence (DoD) in the form of its head of communication, Siphiwe Dlamini, issued an almost non-statement in the wake of the Presidential announcement. It reads: “The Department of Defence confirms the extension by the Commander in Chief of the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in support of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape”. No mention is made is whether the unit/s currently deployed will remain or be replaced and by which units, in all probability another component of the SA Army Infantry formation.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde, who last week called for a six month extension of the deployment, tentatively welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s extension of the Operation Prosper deployment.
In a joint statement with provincial community safety MEC, Albert Fritz, Winde indicated the provincial government wants a clearer indication of the impact the SANDF deployment is having, including a “blended strategy allowing for a better combination of law enforcement, community mobilisation and availability of social service interventions to targeted groups”.
“Premier Winde has undertaken to convene and chair a ‘Safety Cabinet’ of stakeholders to co-ordinate the responses of the provincial government, City of Cape Town and the SAPS, NPA and SANDF, among others. Together, they must develop a joint plan of action to be implemented throughout the period of further deployment,” the statement says further.