15 arrested in Cape Town anti-crime swoop

Fifteen people, included eight suspects on the most wanted list, were rounded up in a pre-dawn anti-crime operation in Steenberg outside Cape Town on Thursday, the police said. 

"Steenberg residence woke up to a heavy police presence in the early hours of this morning," said spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana. 

This was ahead of Police Minister Bheki Cele's announcement that the SANDF would join an operation to clamp down on Cape Town's gang-infested areas from Friday. 

READ: Ramaphosa gives green light for army to go into Cape's gang-infested areas

Cele's announcement comes amid heightened concern over crime in the Western Cape and uncertainty over whether the current commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, will stay or take up an offer to move to the same position in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Rwexana said those arrested faced charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, robbery, housebreaking and theft. 

Among the items seized were a firearm, ammunition and drugs. 

"The provincial commissioner of the Western Cape, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, assures the community that [the SA Police Service] will continue to participate in joint operations to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book," Rwexana added.

In June, six anti-gang unit members were shot while attempting to arrest a suspect they had been searching for.

Last weekend, 13 people were killed in 24 hours in Philippi. 

Speaking in Parliament ahead of his budget vote, Cele said he had spoken with Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula about the Philippi shootings, News24 reported earlier. 

They then approached President Cyril Ramaphosa for an "extra deployment" in the form of the SANDF, which he assented to.