Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the deployment of the South African Defence Force to the Cape Flats has so far been a success as it has assisted law enforcement agencies to gain access into areas engulfed by violence.
Mapisa-Nqakula said this when she responded to oral questions at the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.
She said this after President Cyril Ramaphosa, as the Commander in Chief, authorized the deployment of the troops to the Western Cape to assist the police’s multi-disciplinary operations, including the newly-established Anti-Gang Unit, to tackle gangsterism and drug trafficking amid concerns of an alarming murder rate in gang-infested areas.
“The SA National Defence Force was mandated to deploy as part of Operation Prosper/ Operation Lockdown from the 12th of July to the 16th of September this year.
“The deployment of the SANDF in the Cape Flats is a success in that where the other state entities had lost access into the areas engulfed with violence, the Defence Force has made it possible for them to access such areas as part of the service delivery mandate. Statistics and details can be made available to indicate what has happened and what is happening currently within the communication policy of the operations by the police,” she said.
She said while the Defence Force is and was not designed to operate locally, she said the soldiers, as well as the police, should be commended for the manner in which they have commended themselves – under extreme provocation, “because we have not had a situation where citizens have been shot at and killed,” she said.
“The South African National Defence Force was never designed or aimed to be utilized internally, but it should be understood that whenever state control and state authorities are undermined to such an extent that it endangers the lives of the citizens of the republic of South Africa and the destruction of property belonging to citizens, it is equally mandated in terms of the law to address such as part of the whole government approach in support of other state departments, and in this case, in support of the police.
“If must be taken into consideration that stabilizing a hostile environment is not an overnight, instant occurrence but the South African National Defence Force remains committed to address and perform its mandate within the given task. We do have the statistics and I am sure the police may want to provide those when the time comes,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said, meanwhile, that the challenges in the Western Cape are as a result of the socio-economic conditions that people were living in.
“…in fact, when we were [having] discussions as Ministers, we were saying look, we can step in, make this kind of intervention, assist the police, give them as much support so that they can deal with the issue of gangsterism and murders but for as long as we do not address the hunger, the poverty, the conditions under which people live in the area, we will continue to have these kind of problems,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za