The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday evening that the South African Defence Force will form part of security interventions to address the ongoing gang violence in the Western Cape.
For more than a decade, the DA and the people of the Western Cape have called on national government to deploy the army to gang-ridden communities in support of SAPS. It is unfortunate that so many innocent people, including young children, had to lose their lives due to the ANC arrogantly playing politics with the lives of our people.
For more than a decade the people of the Cape Flats and other communities in the province, riddled by gang violence, have been living with crippling fear. Countless mothers have buried their innocent children and life in these communities has been a never-ending nightmare.
While the army’s deployment to assist the South African Police Services (SAPS) in stabilising the violence in gang-ridden communities is welcomed – this is only a temporary solution which must be led by SAPS.
The deployment of the army is indicative of the historic neglect of policing in these communities by national government, and the police’s complete failure in combatting gang activities. The people of the Western Cape need an honest and professional police service which is well-trained, well-funded, well-resourced and fully capacitated. The only way policing will be effective, is when it is taken over by capable provincial governments.
The DA commends the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town, which despite their limited mandates, went above and beyond to keep the people of the Western Cape safe.
We call on Minister Bheki Cele to provide the public with the full details of the army’s planned involvement in stabilising Western Cape communities.
Section 201 of the Constitution read with Sections 18 and 19 of the Defence Act provide strict procedures for the deployment of SANDF within the country’s borders.
Section 201 (2) of the Constitution states that “only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force in co-operation with the police service”. Section 18 of the Defence Act states that in addition to the deployment of the army as per Section 201 of the Constitution, the President “may authorise the employment of the Defence Force for service inside the Republic”. Section 19 of the Act requires the Minister of Defence to give notice of the deployment by notice in the Government Gazette and that the President needs to inform Parliament.
The DA trusts that the deployment of the SANDF to various communities in the Western Cape will bring much-needed stability in the Western Cape.