As army prepared to deploy, 25-year-old shot 'multiple times' in the head
South African National Defence Force units made their way to Cape Town from across the country on Friday afternoon to constitute a battalion-sized force that will help police to curb the murder rate in the city.
As the troops organised themselves in preparation to assist a police service struggling to curb a rocketing murder rate, reports of the weekend’s first casualties came in.
A 25-year-old man was shot in the head “multiple times” in Beacon Valley, according to police.
“Mitchell’s Plain police are investigating a case of murder after a shooting incident that occurred this afternoon just before 4pm at Hazeldene Street, Portlands,” said police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana.
At the same time, troops from various support companies and 8 SA Infantry Battalion arrived at Ysterplaat Airforce Base after being flown in on Air Force transport planes.
Buses and trucks departed from there to the nearby Fort iKapa Army Base in Goodwood Park.
SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi said that the air force would also assist in the operations with the support of helicopters.
The army’s deployment was announced by police minister Bheki Cele during his budget vote speech on Thursday evening following pleas over the past few years by communities living in some of the city’s most dangerous neighbourhoods.
Cape Town is in the throes of its worst year for gang violence yet and has witnessed a murder rate of 10.6 people per day for the first four months of 2019.
The military units are expected to assist the police in their attempts to lock down certain areas in the wake of several weeks of intense gang violence and the murders of 13 people in Philippi last weekend.
Cele also announced a provincial crime summit to be held at the weekend in Paarl, north of Cape Town, which will also be attended by deputy police minister Cassel Mathale and social development minister Lindiwe Zulu.
“The crime summit aims to bring various stakeholders together to exchange views and craft sustainable solutions towards combating crime in the Western Cape,” the police ministry said in a statement on Friday.
“As well as to engage provincial government on critical crime-related matters such as environmental design and prevailing socio-economic conditions in the Western Cape, an objective the SAPS cannot achieve solely but requires an integrated approach involving all communities and all spheres of government,” read the statement.
The summit will host 500 delegates including “various entities and stakeholders involved in the fight against crime”.
“Day two of the crime summit a declaration will be adopted outlining commitments made by all stakeholders in the fight against crime to ensure the citizens of the Western Cape communities are and feel safe,” it read.