Johannesburg - South African Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, on Tuesday appealed to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to support the police in combating crime in "two of the most crime stubborn provinces", Gauteng and the Western Cape, his office said.
"When I visited the community of Elsies River, one community leader referred to the terror caused by gangs as an act of terrorism, I want to tell the people of Elsies River that I heard you, and I am acting,” Mbalula said in a statement.
“We will never fail our people, we will squeeze the space for criminals, and we will liberate our people from prisons of fear.”
His spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said that Mbalula noted that in the recent past South Africa has been "engulfed by an insurgence of extremely violent crime" that has made communities feel and be unsafe.
Mhaga said that it was decided that "urgent additional steps" should be taken in order to inter-departmentally manage the current scourge of crime in the two provinces.
"Stabilisation and combating of the these criminal activities are within the mandate of the South African Police Service but due to the large groupings and military training of some of the perpetrators, the South African Defence Force (SANDF) is requested to assist, in the mentioned provinces," Mhaga said.
"The levels of violence in recent months involves the use of weapons of war in the commissions of serious crimes where even innocent by-standers and children have fallen victim of gang related violent crimes."
He said that the most recent incidents of increased violence and shooting incidents, and the increase in gangsterism activities in the Western Cape and Gauteng are becoming a matter of huge concern.
These included murder and attempted murder; robbery and robbery aggravating; assault common and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm; truck and car theft and high-jacking; rape; trespassing; child abuse and neglect; abuse of controlled chemicals; and drug related crimes, Mhaga said.
Mbalula's office said that violent incidents and gangsterism activities was "severely impacting on an increase of deaths of innocent bystanders as well as impacting on criminal activities", the social environment and the safety and security of communities.
“Our children have a right to grow in a peaceful environment, and as police, we have a duty to protect that right,” Mbalula said.
Gauteng and the Western Cape, specifically Cape Town, were identified as the hotspots and areas most affected.
The announcement comes less than two weeks before the latest crime statistics are released on October 23.