Is the army making a difference on the Cape Flats?

By Doug Mattushek - 18 August 2019Views : 805

The South African National Defence Force has been deployed on the Cape FLats for five weeks but what impact have they made?

Earlier this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the crime-ridden Cape Flats to give an update on Operation Lockdown, the combined operation between the SAPS and SANDF design to curb the spate of murders in selected areas.

Cele revealed that over 1000 suspects had been arrested and 45 firearms had been confiscated. Despite this, murder has continued unabated. Last weekend, 47 were killed in the Cape Town metropole, leaving many questioning the effectiveness of the joint-operation.

ALSO READ: Cele on the Cape Flats: 1004 arrested in Operation Lockdown so far

The Western Cape minister of community safety, Albert Fritz, revealed that while many arrests had been made, the conviction is so low that many were put back out on the street within three days.

"Murder rates remain high and patrols reportedly last no longer than three hours at a time," revealed Fritz.

"Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has boasted that this intervention has resulted in high levels of police visibility in the most gang-afflicted communities, the confiscation of illegal firearms and the arrests of over 1000 individuals with outstanding warrants of arrest.

"Having said that, it is concerning that these arrests have not resulted in charges and convictions. I have been informed that the majority of those arrested were released within 72 hours due to detective services’ failure to positively link the arrests to crimes and/or to complete the requisite investigations.

"I therefore urgently call on Minister Bheki Cele to make use of my Department's Court Watching Briefs Unit to track arrests made during the deployment, and to ensure they lead to the successful prosecution of guilty parties."