Army slammed as abalone operation leaves residents in fear
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Cape Town - Table View residents were left confused when the army rolled into the neighbourhood without explanation.
Police were tipped off about an illegal abalone operation in Raats Street.
The police swooped in but minutes later so did the army, creating a stir among baffled residents.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi told Weekend Argus the army was contacted by the police to assist in the operation, which included the Maitland flying squad and saw the seizure of 4600 units of dry abalone and six bags of frozen abalone valued at R1.2 million.
But residents said the operation caused “mayhem”.
Table View Neighbourhood Watch chairperson Grant Lemos said Table View police had seized more than R1.2m worth of abalone before, without the army’s help.
“When people see the army coming into the area with the flying squad they think something major is happening. Why do we need the help of the army now when we’ve done these types of operations before?” said Lemos.
Greater Table View Action forum chairperson Karen Davis said the operation was “complete overkill” and a waste of resources.
“About four army vehicles came in and blocked the whole street and people didn’t know what was going on. I suppose they can’t tell the public what’s going on because it’ll compromise the raid but there were a lot of freaked out people.”
Lemos said there was an increase in abalone poaching facilities being set up in the area and the neighbourhood watch along with Table View police found poachers targeting Melkbos and Blouberg beaches.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said a large freezer chest, a large pot, gas bottles and other equipment used to dry the abalone were also seized by the police.
Two foreigners, aged 31 and 35 were arrested.
Recently, police have been working in partnership with the Western Cape Hawks, crime intelligence and the department of environment, forestry and fisheries to clamp down on abalone poaching syndicates.
Earlier this month, two foreigners were arrested in Hermanus with abalone worth R3.9m while last month arrests were made in Parklands, Milnerton and Strand, all related to abalone poaching.