Bloody weekend as 43 killed in Cape Town

Another bloody weekend in Cape Town saw a total of 43 murders recorded by forensics services despite an intensified crack down on gangs in metro areas in the province, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said.

Of the 43 people murdered, 25 were shot and 12 were stabbed with a sharp object, Winde said.

This came after 13 people were shot dead in Cape Town suburb of Philippi in the previous weekend, prompting Police Minister Bheki Cele to announce on Thursday that troops would be deployed on Friday in gang-infested areas to help police quell gang violence.

But the deployment of troops was delayed as the army went through neccesary authorization and paperwork, said Winde.

Troops arrived in the Western Cape over the weekend, but they were not deployed on Friday as initially announced by Cele, Winde said.

The premier said the South African Police Service (SAPS) started running a National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) operation on Thursday night in Cape Town suburbs of Philippi, Steenberg and Delft that have been gripped by gang violence.

The operation has led to the arrest of 143 suspects and the confiscation of guns of drugs, according to Winde.

But despite this heavier police presence, and Cele himself inspecting some gang-infested areas on Sunday, 43 people were still murdered, some of them in the very areas where the operation was targeted, Winde said.

“This weekend’s murder rate is proof that there is no time to waste in deploying the army, and I call on Minister Cele and President Ramaphosa to get the paperwork out of the way as quickly as possible so that no more lives are wasted,” said Winde.

The deployment of troops in gang-infested areas in Cape Town and the Western Cape came as requested by the local communities and was approved by Ramaphosa.

These areas have seen gangs spiralling out of control for many years. For more than a decade, the communities have called on the national government to deploy the army to help police in the fight against gangs.

Cele had previously rejected repeated calls for the deployment of troops to help quell gang violence in affected areas, saying the army was not trained to deal with civilians, and the rate of crime in the city has not reached the point that necessitates the deployment of the SANDF.

The opposition says the deployment of the army is indicative that police have lost the war on crimes.

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