Cape Town – The deployment of the SANDF on Thursday has led to a drop in the weekend murder statistics for the metro region.
A total of 25 murders were recorded at the weekend by the province's forensic pathology services unit, compared with 43 last weekend, and 55 the weekend prior to that, said the spokesperson for Western Cape Minister for Safety and Security Albert Fritz, Cayla Murray.
The shooting of three police officers in Delft was described as a brazen attack on the State by Fritz, the SABC reported. A 32-year-old police constable was shot dead and two of his colleagues wounded when a gunman opened fire.
“We see this as a very interesting declaration of war by the gang members on the state. We really have to deal with this urgently and investigate properly so that we can have those people behind bars as soon as possible, but we also want to call on all our communities to please assist the police with information,” Fritz said.
“I commend the police for the rapid arrest of the suspect and for having intensified SAPS presence in the area following the shooting.
"Violence and criminality have no place in our society and must be condemned in the strongest terms. I call on all residents to aid the police by reporting dangerous criminals and illegal firearms."
Delft Community Policing Forum chairperson Pastor Charles George said they held a meeting at the station yesterday morning where they demanded the cluster commander remove the SAPS management in the areas as well as the station commander.
"At the moment, gangsters are ridiculing police and are taking their lives and we cannot have that," George said.
The acting station commander at Delft police station's personal vehicle was stoned during a protest on Friday.
Of the 25 people murdered at the weekend, 18 were shot, four were stabbed and three were killed through other causes. Three people were shot in Mitchells Plain at the weekend, and two deaths were recorded in Khayelitsha.
SANDF deployments as part of police operations were made in communities including Hanover Park and Manenberg at the weekend, with residents in some areas reporting that the weekend had been mostly peaceful.
Premier Alan Winde said: "This is still 25 murders too many, but we are pleased to see that the presence of the army is having some impact in our communities, who are tired of crime and living in fear.
"We appeal to the police to continue to make maximum use of this period of relative stability to catch the culprits who are driving crime and disorder in our communities."
Winde added: "From the Western Cape government's side, we will be working on a long-term plan to address the root causes of crime, to stimulate more economic opportunities, and to ramp up services to high crime communities.
"We need all of our departments, including Social Development, Education, Health, Cultural Affairs and Sport, Transport and Public Works, and Human Settlements to be playing a role in ensuring that communities are supported and both the impact and the allure of crime are reduced."
Winde said he would also continue his intergovernmental dispute with the Minister of Police, in order to ensure proper allocation of police resources.
"We have seen from this weekend the impact of having additional resources on the ground, and a tactical response to crime-fighting and crime prevention. By increasing our visible policing and intelligence-led investigations, we can start to root out criminals."