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Western Cape premier Helen Zille has for a second time called on President Jacob Zuma to send the army into the Cape’s most violent ganglands.
Her first call was on July 9. She disclosed on Wednesday that Zuma had, in reply, written to her saying he had asked his ministers of Defence and Military Veterans, and Police, to provide him with an “assessment report” on the situation.
But as Lavender Hill and Hanover Park residents continued to cower from warring gangsters, Zille again urged Zuma in a second letter to him on Monday: “I must emphasise that the situation in the affected areas has reached crisis levels and we cannot afford undue delays if we are to prevent the further loss of innocent lives.
“The past weekend has seen the gang violence continue unabated and indeed intensify.
“It has been reported that service members of SAPS were also caught in gang crossfire in at least one incident and had to take cover,” she continued.
“It is clear that the current situation is beyond the capacity of SAPS to control and they need the support of the SANDF to restore order in the affected areas.
“The temporary employment of the SANDF into these areas is required to create the space for SAPS to do its job more effectively and bolster law enforcement capacity for street-patrolling and search-and-seizure operations.”
Zille pointed out that state security organs had recently been deployed to provide additional security for Zuma at a function in Limpopo and the SANDF had been used to against rhino poaching.
“These are not objectionable uses of such state resources; however, I now ask that the safety and security needs of the residents of Lavender Hill and Hanover Park are similarly prioritised,” Zille urged.
In her second plea to Zuma, she also criticised Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for “apparent bias towards a decision to not employ the SANDF”.
She reminded Zuma that the decision was his, and not the minister’s.