Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
THE national Police Department says it has a “new, directed” plan targeted at gang and drug related violence – and the army will be on standby for support services.
The SA Defence Force (SANDF) has not officially been called in to areas plagued by drug- and gang-related violence but their services form part of a plan that will be led by police.
Last month, Western Cape premier Helen Zille wrote to President Jacob Zuma appealing for soldiers to be deployed to Lavender Hill and Hanover Park where gang violence had claimed many lives.
Zuma responded saying he had requested Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to assess the situation in the two areas so that he could decide if SANDF members should be sent in.
Yesterday The Herald newspaper reported that a national order had been sent to the Eastern and Western Cape police commissioners which instructed military and state agencies to form provincial priority committees.
“A report on the gang violence was submitted to the President from the Minister of Police and Defence. The decision to deploy the military has to come from the president,” Defence Ministry spokesman, Sonwabo Mbananga, said.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said: “the matter is on his desk and he is giving it his attention.”
National police spokesman, Brigadier Lindela Mashigo, said: “It is not a military intervention. Police will lead the operation and we will only ask for assistance from the defence force as and when we need it.
“There is a plan by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure to address these crimes. Various departments have a role to play” Mashigo said.
He said the Department of Justice and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) also had a role to play in the plan by speeding up court cases related to gangs and drug violence.
Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, said he had not received an order saying the army would be deployed.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato’s spokesman, Greg Wagner, said: “We haven’t received any official confirmation from the national government with regards to the deployment of the army. Premier Helen Zille has recently written to President Zuma requesting the deployment of the army for a temporary period, under the command of SAPS, in order to allow the SAPS to regain control of the gang-affected communities and Minister Plato supports this call.”
When Zille called on Zuma to deploy the army, she said the situation had reached “crisis level” and that the temporary employment of the SANDF would bolster law enforcement capacity.