South Africa to deploy army to quell violent crime in Cape Town

South Africa to deploy army to quell violent crime in Cape Town

Residents of violence-torn townships in the larger Cape Town metropole can expect the police and army to come knocking at their doors after President Cyril Ramaphosa approved a request for the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) following a sharp increase in murders in the city. Cele rejected the call to use the army just four days ago when addressing members of the community after the murders of 13 people last weekend.

He said the people of the Western Cape needed the army "because they want safety".

Hundreds of soldiers will be deployed into sprawling area of townships known as the Cape Flats to combat gang-related violence that saw 14 people killed in 24 hours last week. Bheki Cele, the Police Minister, said the military deployment would last three months and see troops backing up police officers.

"The South African National Defence Force will deploy a battalion with support elements during Operation PROSPER", the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

He added that the recurring scenes of scattered dead bodies in the streets of Phillippi, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga are unbearable.

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'We believe that by the time that time comes, we would have normalised the situation and we'll sustain that through normal policing, ' he said.

More than 20,000 people, or 57 per day, were murdered in South Africa past year.

As soldiers prepare to enter gang-ravaged communities in Cape Town, crime-stopping organisations are demanding that a state of emergency be declared in areas with the most gang-related violence.

In a report this year by the The Citizen's Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice of the world's most unsafe cities, the only three not from the Americas in the top 50 were in South Africa, with Cape Town at 11th overall with a homicide rate of 66.36 per 100,000 residents.

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