The South African military has been deployed to Cape Town, to try and quell the rise of gang violence in the area. At least 13 people were killed in 24 hours last weekend in parts of the city where gangs are more active, and Police Minister Bheki Cele called on the military to help “stamp the authority of the state” and clear out gangs from the city. While Cape Town’s gang violence problem spans back decades, the recent flareups in fighting stems from a turf war between two rival gangs.
Minister Cele said that the military would work closely with the Cape Town police, to aid in raids to try and get guns and drugs off the street. “We’ll go door to door, we’ll collect every illegal firearm, we’ll collect all criminals that we want, we’ll collect all outstanding criminals that have been on bail, and that is happening from two o’clock this morning, [Friday]” he said. The Army’s current deployment is for three months and can be extended thereafter.
Pumza Fihlani, a BBC News correspondent, says that the most recent military deployment is not the correct solution to the problem. Fihlani says that the violence is concentrated “far from the opulent suburbs and bustling tourist attractions” and is located in the most low-income parts of Cape Town. She says that the military crackdown will never fix the gang problem; instead, there needs to be a form of economic relief for these areas.
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