The Minister of Defence has left the decision on whether or not to deploy the army to the gang violence-riddled areas of the Western Cape to President Jacob Zuma.
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged receiving Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s request for the army to be deployed to assist under-resourced police in the area.
However, spokesperson for the minister, Joy Nonzukiso-Peter, said that the minister did not have the final say in the matter.
“There is one commander-in-chief in the Republic of South Africa and that is the president. The president would have to have a final say, the minister does not deploy,” Nonzukiso-Peter said.
This signals a change in government’s stance towards the issue of gang violence in the province.
A request for assistance made by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was previously denied without this level of engagement being publicly shown in assessing the request.