SANDF members patrol Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain. Photo: Henk Kruger / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe-Mapisa Nqakula requesting that the SANDF deployment to the Western Cape be extended.

In order to reach a point of stabilisation, Winde wants the army to be deployed for at least six months longer.

However, on condition that certain shortcomings of the original deployment be urgently addressed to improve the results that have been recorded so far.

The deployment of the SANDF is set to come to an end next week, but defence spokesperson Joy Peter said various security agencies would sit down to assess the situation.

Winde said on Wednesday: “We are being told that the SANDF has played a key role in Operation Lockdown so far, particularly in providing support to the SAPS and other law enforcement operations. However, we have seen very little in the way of a decrease in violent crime.

"There is no doubt that the SAPS do not have the resources to do this alone. There is still a massive hill to climb and no reasonable person would be satisfied that the levels of violence in the Western Cape, and particularly those in affected areas, have now been stablised.”

Among the conditions and proposals outlined in Winde’s letter to Ramaphosa are:

* Clear indicators of success and measurement tools need to be put in place to track the impact the deployment is having.

* The Western Cape government proposes a blended strategy which allows for a better combination of law enforcement, community mobilisation and availability of social service interventions to targeted groups.

* A co-ordinated response from local, provincial and national government.

* A problem-oriented approach where specific crime types are analysed and law enforcement responses are customised to areas, based on needs and requirements.

* Criminal and violent groupings must be given clear messages that they are under scrutiny and that any violence, or acts triggering violence, will receive special attention and increased enforcement.

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, National Prosecuting Authority and SANDF, among others. 

Together, they must develop a joint plan of action to be implemented throughout the period of further deployment.

“When the deployment was first made, the Western Cape government was not consulted on how it would be carried out. This is unfortunate as there was very little co-ordinated planning  prior to the event, and no clear terms of reference were discussed with us. 

"As we have not been privy to any indicators, it is not clear to us whether or not the intervention has been successful,” Winde said.

“We are still seeing unacceptably high levels of murder, attempted murder and other violent crime, which needs to be urgently addressed,” Winde said.

The provincial government has been a participant in the daily Jocom meetings and has committed resources to various initiatives to support Operation Lockdown. 

However, only limited information is being shared with provincial leadership in these meetings. Winde has requested that Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele urgently provide the following information:

* The number of serious crimes committed during the operation

* The operations conducted

* The number and nature of targeted arrests conducted

* The number of firearms and ammunition confiscated

* The number of “high-flyers” arrested

* Progress on the arrest and prosecution of targeted offenders

* Iinformation on the intelligence led approach being utilised.

“Access to this kind of data and information is crucial as the Western Cape Government’s number one priority is to see a reduction in violence and crime, and to restore stability," Winde said.

"We are eager to work with all other spheres of government and organs of state to achieve this goal, but we need to know that the work being done, and the money being spent is resulting in real and quantifiable results.”

The Western Cape Government has been piloting trials in certain communities aimed at addressing issues which have a knock-on effect on crime. 

In Hanover Park, five provincial government departments and the City of Cape Town are working together on a series of interventions aimed at crime reduction. 

These include dealing with street lighting issues, traffic and law enforcement blitzes, cleaning and beautification and the implementation of community social programmes.

In Bonteheuwel, 100 City of Cape Town safety officers have been deployed, which has had an almost immediate impact on that area’s crime levels and particularly, the number of murders there.

“My aim in all of these interventions, and in my request for the continued deployment of the SANDF, is to ensure that we are doing everything possible to ensure that the scourge of crime in our communities comes to a stop. 

"We need to make every effort and use every avenue at our disposal to root out criminals and make our communities safer.”

“We are grateful to the president and the national government for heeding our call, and the call of communities, to deploy the SANDF, and we hope that they will see the sense in working together to improve this deployment, so that we can all achieve our common goal of ensuring a safer environment for all of our citizens.”

Cape Times