Mbalula: Zuma must order troops into gangland
Politics Mbalula: Zuma must order troops into gangland 11 October 2017 - 15:44 By Aphiwe Deklerk And Farren Collins Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula. File photo.
Image: Masi Losi/Sunday Times
If police minister Fikile Mbalula has his way the army will be supporting police in the Western Cape and Gauteng in the next week .
Howeverâ it is not up to the minister to make that decision. His spokesmanâ Vuyo Mhagaâ said they have asked Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakulaâs office to approach President Jacob Zuma.
Only the president may deploy the troops.
When asked where exactly the soldiers are neededâ Mhaga said it would depend on the police to determine the hotspots.
âBut as you understandâ in a democratic countryâ soldiers canât be deployed permanently [inside the country] but that call becomes an operational callââ said Mhaga.
He added the personnel on the ground would make an assessment as to when the army was no longer needed.
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The last time the army was deployed to assist police in certain areas was in 2015 during Operation Fiela. The operation was in response to violence against foreign nationals.
At the timeâ the army played a supportive role to the police.
Asked if Mba lulaâs call was for a similar roleâ Mhaga said a decision would be made by SAPS generals on how to use the army personnel.
â[We would like them deployed] as soon as possibleâ in a couple of weeks if not a week but as soon as we get the go-aheadâ we will prepare to be on the groundââ he said.
Mhaga said the call by Mbalula was not an admission of police failure but to augment the current work being done by the SAPS.
When asked if Mbalulaâs call was influenced by a similar appeal by Western Cape Premier Helen Zilleâ Mhaga said: âFar from it. It would be a banana republic if every opinion that comesâ we take a decision based on it. Decisions are taken based on the assessments that police make and then they request resources.â
Mapisa-Nqakulaâs spokespersonâ Joy Peterâ confirmed that the minister had received Mbalulaâs request but said she could not comment.
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In Cape Townâ where g ang violence has escalated in recent weeksâ people had varying views on the deployment of the SANDF.
Joanie Fredericksâ from Tafelsigâ said: "My thoughts are that we have reached a point of âsomething must giveâ. This situation is unnatural. Never before have we seen such all out war on the policeâ the communityâ childrenâ gang on gang â" âsomething will give'. I believe that the Army must come in at this particular point with a very clear mandate: to provide protection for the police and community while the police investigateâ arrest and confiscate weapons. And to stay for a specific period until they have reached their mandate (normalise situation)."
Roegshanda Pascoeâ Manenbergâ said: "I was busy with the TV crew - we were caught in the shootout between gangs this morning. People feel there is no other choice as they are feeling like prisoners now we have put our recommendations on the table with our engagement with the sec retariat of the national office of police regarding the army in our request for the army."
Achmat Isaacsâ from Mitchells Plainâ said: ''I am not in favour of getting the army in and would have preferred that the law enforcement agencies jointly run operation in our communities. The drones that the DA administration boasted about is not put to use.
"Howeverâ there is a dire need for national intervention and if it means that the army comes in to restore peace in our communitiesâ then it must be done under our supervision and on our terms. We are heading towards a total collapse of the security of our communities and it has reached a point where we no longer have the luxury of calling on our people to bring about the changeâ even though we outnumber the gangsters by far. The weapons artillery at their disposal renders us incapable of dealing with the issues ourselves.''SUNDAY TIMES FROM R56 PER MONTH Subscribe now for full
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