Politician, the media and Western Cape communities at large are starting to question the effectiveness of the SANDF in Cape Town as it hasn’t yet achieved significant impact on the soaring murder rate in Cape Town a month after deployment.
This past weekend, 47 people were murdered in Cape Town. The weekend before that, 46 people were murdered. The lowest weekend murder rate since deployment was achieved immediately after the army was deployed with at least 25 murders.
Since then, angry residents from the Cape Flats communities said the SANDF was not bringing stability to their areas, where they were functioning like “headless chickens”.
Police Commissioner Bheki Cele said a range of socio-economic factors impede policing efforts in the communities plagued by serious violent crimes.
“The challenge of learners who do not attend school further perpetuates the cycle of violence as they fall into the hands of gang leaders and criminals. Poor lighting, access roads and lack of formal housing are but some factors that adversely affect the policing of certain communities,” Cele said.
Meanwhile, Western Cape premier Alan Winde has requested a police report detailing the effectiveness of the SANDF since deployment.
“We will be writing to police management to request a full report back on the role and effectiveness of the SANDF since their deployment, as well as SAPS’ plans to fight crime in the province going forward.
“Violence like we’ve seen over the past weekend impacts the whole province and all areas of government. We have seen the strain that violence is placing on our health system, with massive increases in gunshot injuries resulting in other surgeries which are not life-threatening, being pushed back”, said Winde.
Tafelsig Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Ivan Williams said they were happy with the army deployment. However, he said there was an increase in robberies and killings by stabbings in their area.
Senior researcher: Justice and violence prevention at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dr Andrew Faull, said considering the numerous factors driving the high rates of both gang and interpersonal violence in affected communities, such as child neglect, domestic conflict, poverty and unemployment, substance abuse, organised crime, weak state services, “it isn’t clear why the army was deployed”.
Faull said it was generally accepted that crime and violence cannot be stopped by police (or military) deployment alone.