Calls mount for a plan to combat gang violence after army exits
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Cape Town - The joint standing committee on defence said there should be a long-term plan in Cape Town to deal with and contain gang violence after the army has gone.
Members of the committee agreed that while the army would remain for three months, the government must introduce measures to rein in gangs.
President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered the deployment of 1320 soldiers, at a cost of more than R23million.
The intervention followed the request by Police Minister Bheki Cele to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula that the army be brought in.
Co-chairperson of the committee Cyril Xaba said the constitution provided that Ramaphosa must notify the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces about the deployment and include its cost and scale.
“There seems to be the noting of the decision of the president to deploy the army. We will prepare a report for the House to know,” said Xaba.
Sam Matiase of the EFF said it welcomed deployment of the army but it would not solve the problems of embattled Cape Town communities.
“What the government needs to do is to deal with the socio-economic conditions of our people, which are the breeding ground that led to the deployment of the army,” said Matiase.
“We are appealing to both the national and provincial governments to move into that space.”
Anele Gxoyiya of the ANC said it noted that Ramaphosa had exercised his constitutional responsibility to bring in the army.
“I would submit that let us note the deployment and accept that the president has exercised his responsibility to deploy. We will go to the House and report and exercise our oversight that the army is doing the work it is supposed to,” said Gxoyiya.
ANC MP Thabo Mmutle said he supported the EFF’s position on the long-term plans to curb gang violence, the roots of which, he added, must be addressed by the provincial government in the Western Cape as the “deep-seated” problems will persist after the army has left.
Matiase said that guns and rubber bullets would not solve the underlying problems of gang violence.
Dennis Ryder of the DA said the president was within his powers to bring in the army and Parliament had to be notified.