CAPE TOWN – South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) stay in Cape Town until March 2020.
The country’s defence force was set to leave the Cape Flats on Monday, but Ramaphosa announced a six-month extension.
Although the move has received mixed reactions, some have welcomed the decision but some remain unsure of the SANDF’s contribution in fighting crime in the Western Cape.
After the official confirmation by the office of the Presidency that SANDF troops would remain on the Cape Flats, the Western Cape government has called for more involvement in the planning of operations in the next six months of their deployment.
The extension has been tentatively welcomed by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, who had last week called for the six-month extension.
In a statement to the media, Winde said that if the deployment to be successful and truly make a difference in people’s lives, they need to make some operational changes and we all need to be working together.
“The province, City of Cape Town, national government, the SAPS, SANDF and the entire criminal justice chain have to commit to working together, otherwise we will not achieve stabilisation over the next six months,” Winde said as quoted by the Daily Maverick.
“Premier Winde has undertaken to convene and chair a ‘Safety Cabinet’ of stakeholders to co-ordinate the responses of the provincial government, City of Cape Town and the SAPS, NPA and SANDF, among others.
“Together, they must develop a joint plan of action to be implemented throughout the period of further deployment,” read the statement.
The extension comes after the SANDF was initially deployed to the Cape Flats after an announcement by police minister Bheki Cele in July 2019, at a pre-Budget media briefing in Parliament.
The president announced he had deployed 1,320 SANDF members to the Cape Flats, and that the total expenditure which is expected to be incurred for this deployment is R23,391,351.
While the president on Monday confirmed the extension, he did not provide the costs involved nor if there was any change in the number of troops to be deployed.
At the time of the July announcement, Cele said troops would be deployed to 10 areas of the Cape Flats most affected by crime and gang violence: Delft, Mitchell’s Plain, Philippi, Manenberg, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Kraaifontein.