SANDF deployment an insult to communities dealing with gangs - MEC Plato

2017-02-08 13:25
Dan Plato (City of Cape Town)

Dan Plato (City of Cape Town)

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Cape Town - The deployment of more than 400 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) members for President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA) is a slap in the face of Western Cape residents living in gang-infested areas.

This is according to community safety MEC Dan Plato, who labelled the move an insult to communities in the Western Cape who live in fear on a daily basis.

Zuma announced on Tuesday that he had authorised 441 SANDF members to maintain law and order during SONA.

The deployment has been met with anger and frustration, with opposition parties and lobby groups strongly criticising the decision.

"The scourge of gangs, drugs and guns in our communities leaves too many people fearing for their lives and too many innocent lives lost in the crossfire," Plato said.

He said calls by the Western Cape government in the past for military assistance to maintain law and order had been met with heavy criticism from national government.

READ: Nothing normal about militarisation of Parliament - R2K

'This is normal'

"We believe the additional support would allow the SAPS to continue their investigative work to rid our streets of gangsters, drug lords and gunrunners. President Zuma's deployment of the military to Parliament to protect him during the SONA 2017 clearly shows that the pleas of people in the Western Cape are not deserving of the president's attention, or national government's proactive action," he said.

Parliament has tried to allay fears that this was part of the securitisation of Parliament, calling the deployment of the soldiers a normal yearly occurrence.  

Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana said the soldiers would have no part in maintaining law and order at the event.

"The use of the term law and order is not the same as what would happen if there was violence in communities, for example, and the army was called in to assist. This is not that scenario. There is no violence right now as we speak. We are not anticipating violence scenarios," he said on Wednesday.

Zuma is due to present his SONA on Thursday at 19:00.

Read more on:    dan plato  |  jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  politics  |  sona 2017

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