Since soldiers deployed to crime-ridden parts of Cape Town in mid-July more than a thousand suspects have been arrested.
This message was delivered earlier this week by Police Minister Bheki Cele during an update at Tafelsig, The Sowetan reports.
Cele spoke on the impact of the national defence force deployment in areas described by residents as “under siege”.
“A spike in murders, attempted murders and other violent crimes in parts of Cape Town, townships and the Cape Flats elicited an outcry from different sectors of society and calls for immediate intervention in an effort to stabilise the situation,” he said.
Crime and killings peaked on the weekend of May 31-June 2 when 73 murders were recorded, he said. The army was deployed in mid-July.
Since the military rolled into some affected areas, 1 004 suspects were arrested, 806 wanted suspects were traced and arrested, 45 firearms were confiscated along with 1 036 rounds of ammunition and an assortment of drugs and illegal substances, said Cele.
He said 20 gang members were now on trial in the province.
Cele said troops were likely to remain on the ground for three months, emphasising the intervention was temporary.
“That’s not an ideal world, sending soldiers into communities, but communities welcome them,” he said. “The presence of soldiers can’t be a permanent solution. We are preparing for a time when police take over.”
Western Cape premier Alan Winde said 47 people were murdered in the latest bloody weekend of violence across the Cape Town metropolitan region. Twenty-seven killings were shootings.
Cele said there was an increasing trend of knives becoming the weapon of choice as more firearms are confiscated.
“Where one option is removed criminals look for other methods,” he said.
Resident Theo van Wyk said: “These skollies here are still killing. The army being here makes little difference.”