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SANDF troops undergo 'mission readiness training' ahead of deployment in Cape Town

14 July 2019

General Solly Shoke, chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), said the military "will deploy a battalion with support elements during the operation".

Earlier in the week, Minister of Police Bheki Cele finally caved to calls to send the army in to assist the police on the Cape Flats. Earlier this year, the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice released a study, naming Cape Town the 11th most unsafe city in the world.

Cape Town, which is the South African murder capital, has experienced a recent increase in the homicide rate.

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The South African National Defence Force's (SANDF) have been deployed to the Western Cape in order to help the South African Police Force (SAPS) combat gangsterism on the Cape Flats.

The areas include Bonteheuwel, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi East. The military deployment will last 3 months.

Cele said the anti-gang operation will target regular gangs and illegal fire-arms, including people who are out on bail.

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"We want the real stuff, not the pushers of the drugs", he said. There were two thousand 800 and 60 murders there a year ago.

The DA-led Western Cape government has agitated for the deployment of the SANDF in the province's gang-infested areas for quite some time.

Youth unemployment is over 50 percent in many poorer parts of South Africa, which is the most unequal country in the world according to World Bank measurements. In places like Philippi or Khayelitsha, the largest black shantytown about 30km (18 miles) from the city centre, tens of thousands of people live cheek by jowl in a squalid sea of shacks unnumbered homes on nameless streets that are flawless for criminals and a nightmare for police. In June 2018, there were 344 alleged murder admissions in Cape Town and in June 2019, there were 448.

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At a press conference after the debate on his budget, Cele said the following of the SANDF's involvement: "They're here for us to police, to make sure not so many people die". Gareth Newham at the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, said: 'It is a short-term, unsustainable response to a crisis.

SANDF troops undergo 'mission readiness training' ahead of deployment in Cape Town