Western Cape to establish 'parallel inter-ministerial collaboration' to deal with gangs

The Western Cape government will establish "parallel inter-ministerial collaboration" after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed to help the police stabilise Cape Town's worst-hit gang areas.

On Friday, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz welcomed Cele's announcement made the night before. 

Cele announced in his budget vote speech that he and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula had asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to approve the deployment of the SANDF to help the police in a stabilisation operation in the Western Cape's ganglands.

Ramaphosa agreed.

The police started the operation in the early hours of Friday, with the SANDF expected to join them on Saturday.

They will mostly be deployed in Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg. 

The SANDF's deployment will last at least three months, with the possibility of an extension.

The DA-led Western Cape government has agitated for the deployment of the SANDF in the province's gang-infested areas for quite some time.

"The deployment of the SANDF is a massive relief for the people of our province who can now look forward to being safe in their own communities and homes," Fritz said. 

He added the provincial cabinet had accepted his proposal to establish an inter-ministerial collaboration to facilitate intelligence gathering and sharing, and subsequently the establishment of social programmes within gang-ravaged communities. 

"Such programmes will encourage job creation, increase school programmes, sport and culture programmes as well as youth development and community programmes.

"The Western Cape government will activate each department's programmes once stability has been achieved in the majority of gang-afflicted communities. This collaboration will report regularly to both the provincial cabinet and premier," he said.

"The aim of this inter-ministerial collaboration is to assist in the stabilisation of communities most affected by gangsterism and criminality. 

"The deployment of the army is a crucial step in allowing both the government and communities to work together in addressing the many challenges that encourage the scourge of violence and crime in our province. I look forward to working productively and in good faith with the national government. 

"I further look forward to working closely with our communities during this crucial time. The many good people of our province can no longer be terrorised by a few," Fritz said.