Premier Alan Winde Photo: Supplied / Western Cape government

Cape Town – Premier Alan Winde and Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the SANDF deployment will be extended by a further six months.

Ramaphosa made the announcement on Monday just hours before the original deployment was due to come to an end.

Winde said: “We wrote to the president to request the extension because we believe that the army can play an important role in peacekeeping in some of our communities most impacted by crime. 

"In our letter to the president, we set out very clear conditions for an extension, because we believe that the effectiveness of the army needs to be maximised and the outcomes of their deployment monitored. 

"It is unclear at this stage whether the president and the ministers of Police and Defence will be implementing the conditions we requested.”

Fritz said: “I welcome the extension of the deployment until 31 March, 2020. The success of the deployment remains hotly contested.

"Whilst the number of murders remains relatively unchanged compared to prior to the deployment, the deployment has been successful in affecting arrests, particularly of wanted suspects. 

"Between this past Thursday and Sunday, 395 arrests were made for persons in possession of drugs, illegal firearms and ammunition, and unlicensed liquor. Of the 395 arrested, 191 were wanted suspects. 

"The issue lies with the criminal justice system as a whole. It is not enough to ensure arrests, we must also ensure convictions. More than ever, we need to ensure that our criminal justice system is fully capacitated. 

"This means that we need the correct number of police on the ground. Our detectives need to be adequately trained and resourced to pursue investigations.  

"Our courts need to receive the appropriate evidence, witnesses and prosecutors so as to convict criminals. It further means that our correctional services should not be overcrowded and unable to prevent crime taking place within its own walls. 

"As the Minister of Community Safety, I will continue to play my part and work in a transversal and integrated manner to safeguard the Western Cape," Fritz said.

Winde said: “When we wrote to the president, we indicated that the Western Cape government had received very little information or data from the deployment, despite our oversight role of the police. 

"If we want this deployment to be successful and truly make a difference in people’s lives, we need to make some operational changes and we all need to be working together. 

"The province, City of Cape Town, national government,  the SAPS, SANDF and the entire criminal justice chain have to commit to working together, otherwise we will not achieve stabilization over the next six months."

The conditions outlined by the provincial government included:

* 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 mobilization 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 customized 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, NPA and SANDF, among others. 

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

Cape Times