There has been a mixed reaction in Kraaifontein to the news that the army will be deployed in the area to help the police fight rampant gang violence.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced last Thursday July 11, that the army would be deployed in province’s top-ten murder precincts – Nyanga, Delft, Khayelitsha, Philippi East, Harare, Gugulethu, Mfuleni, Kraaifontein, Mitchell’s Plain and Bishop Lavis.
He said the army and the police would work together to cordon off and search areas and do patrols. According to the last year’s police crime stats, Kraaifontein police station recorded the seventh highest number of murders in the country (“Murder on the increase,” Northern News, September 19, 2018).
Kraaifontein Community Police Forum spokesman Clement
Solomons welcomed the deployment of the army, especially to Wallacedene, Scottsville, Scottsdene, and Eikendal.
“We are ready to work with all forces to put an end to crime in Kraaifontein because nothing seems to be changing, maybe bringing in the soldiers will change our situation in this community,” he said.
But he was worried about the impact that the sight of troops on the streets would have children.
“Having the army brought here is an indication that SAPS is unable to do their job by safeguarding their communities. Now the minister wants to bring in the army, but once they leave, things will go back to the way it is because the root cause is not sorted out,” he said.
He called for the deployment of more police in the precinct and suggested that local youth be trained to become policemen and women.
He said Mr Cele should have given the “green light” for another police station because one was not enough for Kraaifontein and its informal settlements.
“Our children are going to be left traumatised by troops standing with big guns. We cannot trust that this will help our communities,” he said.
South African National Defence Force spokesman Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi said their main objective was to support SAPS.
“We are not coming to take over. We are here to support the police,” he said.
Brigadier General Mgobozi said soldiers were doing “mission-readiness training, specifically on the rules of engagement” ahead of their deployment to the neighbourhoods.
The army, he said, would allow the police to do their work.
“We will make sure we know our work and that the defence force knows its purpose, so when the area is cordoned off, the police do not have to look behind, and fear a threat.”
He said he could not say exactly where and when the troops would be deployed but it would happen soon.BLOB Two men, aged 18 and 23, were wounded in shooting in Nathieniel Street, Kraaifontein, last Friday.
Kraaifontein police spokesman Captain Hein Hendricks said no arrests had been made.
BLOB Police arrested two men in Klipbok Street on Saturday on drug-dealing charges. Officers found more than 2000 mandrax tablets with a street value of more than R80 000 buried in the backyard, said Captain Hendricks.
BLOB On Sunday, police arrested five people after searching a car in Eoan Avenue and finding 50 rounds of ammunition and a bag of tik with a street value of more than R1500