Cape Town - Leaders in some crime- and gang-ridden communities who observed resources including manpower being boosted for the EFF’s nationwide shutdown have questioned why the same integrated approach cannot be used to address increasing crime.
They are now waiting to see what the function of the army, which remains deployed on the ground until next month, will be.
Integrated law enforcement agencies were deployed across the country to ensure law and order during the EFF’s nationwide shutdown on Monday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa also authorised the deployment of 3 474 soldiers under Operation Prosper, effective from last Friday until April 17, to heighten security, especially at national key points such as airports.
More than 550 protesters had been arrested by 10pm on Monday, with Gauteng recording the highest number of arrests with 149, followed by the Northern Cape with 95, the Eastern Cape with 80 and the Free State with 64 arrests.
Ramaphosa applauded those who did not participate in protest action.
“Others want to diminish democracy and want to abuse the rights of others, intimidate them and compel them to participate in protests. I am happy that the majority of South Africans did not heed the call, but they exercised their right as South Africans,” he said.
In the Western Cape, attempts to block some major roads and minor sporadic incidents of stone-throwing were reported. Many municipalities, including Overstrand, George and the City of Cape Town, reported that it was business as usual with service delivery not hampered as the marches were guarded by heavy police, law enforcement and traffic police presence.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said some incidents took place in Dunoon, Malibongwe Drive and the N7, as well as Jakes Gerwel Drive in Mitchells Plain.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, meanwhile, lauded all role-players who ensured that no chaos erupted.
“I will be engaging with Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile about how we can take the insights from today and apply (them) in our fight against crime,” said Winde.
The leader of the Cape Flats Safety Forum, Abie Isaacs, said at one stage they thought there was no ProvJoints (Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure) or any security cluster in the province.
“However, we were proven wrong on Monday. We saw how resources were pulled together to ensure safety and security. This now means there is no political will to deal with the crime or gang terror in our communities, especially the Cape Flats.
“We believe a blueprint has been (revealed). It is here now, this integrated approach must now be implemented in hot-spot communities particularly the 10 priority police stations that were identified in the crime stats as the crime-generating stations.”
“We will be monitoring this Operational Prosper,” he said.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said an integrated approach using all entities in the security cluster could curb crime.
“We want to see what will happen after April 17th.”
“Our wish and what we have been calling for is that the government supports community bona fide projects that fight crime and prevent it.
“It’s one thing to combat and another to prevent. We want sustainable crime prevention actions. We have heard about the army deployment in hot spots, but we don’t know which ones or where because we have not seen them. Maybe other people have.”