Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says the delay in the deployment of the army in the Western Cape would hopefully provide an element of surprise when the Cape Flats was stabilised.

Briefing the media ahead of her budget vote speech on Wednesday, Mapisa- Nqakula confirmed that the soldiers had been in the province for almost a week now.

“The important thing about the defence force being here is that we all have to agree on the exit strategy. When you move into the area, how do you exit? We have to agree what will inform that moment,” she said.

Her comments came days after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the deployments in Parliament, following figures that revealed the top 10 police stations contributed 42% of attempted murders in the province.

On Wednesday, Mapisa-Nqakula said all deployments in support of the SAPS would be intelligence-driven.

The minister defended the pending deployments of the soldiers in the wake of the rampant gangsterism.

“If the state is challenged in the manner it is done, we think it’s appropriate that the commander-in-chief (Ramaphosa) deployed the defence force,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

General Solly Shoke, chief of the SANDF, said: “When deployed with the police, we have a specific role to play.”

Mapisa-Nqakula also said that since the army was not trained in crowd control, she hoped that criminals did not provoke the soldiers.

“I really pray that there should be no such a situation... We do not expect the use of excessive force,” she said, indicating that the deployment of soldiers would be guided by the police.

The EFF’s Sam Matiase said the deployment was a short-term measure that would not address the real causes of gangsterism.

Political Bureau