Cape Town - Christmas may come early on the Cape Flats after Police Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that the army will take to Cape Town’s streets before December 25.
Mbalula was speaking at a press briefing at Philippi East Police Station on Wednesday where he said they were working on an operational plan to determine where soldiers would be deployed.
In October, Mbalula called on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist police in stemming high levels of crime in the Western Cape and Gauteng.
However, at the time, the police ministry explained the request needed to be approved by President Jacob Zuma.
WATCH: speaking with neighborhood watch of Philippi on Marikana killings. Working with communities is important in fighting crime. pic.twitter.com/ROmRcklszt
Just arrived at the Phillipi East Police Station - getting an update and briefing on Marikana developments pic.twitter.com/OMBbUaEJT0
Cape Flats people, traumatised by relentless gang violence, rejoiced at the announcement but several crime fighters were sceptical.
Responding to questions about whether or not army deployment was still on the cards, Mbalula said: “It is going to happen. We are processing it in terms of the operational plan. Then after the president will give us the green light. Don’t worry it will happen before Christmas.”
He told the Daily Voice that various gang hotspots had been identified based on police’s crime intelligence reports, but he could not reveal the locations where soldiers would be assigned as yet.
“We don’t just want to deploy. We don’t want the communities to feel under siege so we want the police generals to work out a plan and we are now cooking that plan,” Mbalula explained.
“It is taking a bit of time but I assure you it will happen. It has to be police-led and they will be deployed in the areas where violent gangsters are taking over.
“The breakdown of the areas will depend on the operational plan. I don’t want to say now ‘this is going to be this and that areas’. It is going to be based on our own analysis of the dangers.”
Meanwhile, Philippi East police have arrested four of five suspects in connection with the 11 murders which occurred in the Marikana Informal Settlement on September 29.
The incident sparked concern among residents who demanded action, and Mbalula appointed a new top cop, Lieutenant-Colonel Bongani Mtakati, to head up the station.
Since his appointment, Mtakati has recruited more than 500 neighbourhood watch members and formed more than 1000 street committees.
Mbalula says police have also made 357 arrests for serious crimes including murder, rape, assault and burglary since Mtakati was appointed.