Deputy police minister refuses to accept DA's 'send the army' memorandum

2018-07-19 17:11
Mmusi Maimane at the DA march. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

Mmusi Maimane at the DA march. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

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The DA's march in Cape Town on Thursday calling for the government to "send the army" into gang-ridden neighbourhoods ended with Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi rejecting the party's memorandum.

The DA and more than 1 000 supporters walked from Manenberg police station to Nyanga police station in Cape Town on Thursday to protest violent crime and gangsterism in the city.

Top leaders in the province and party, including DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, MEC for safety in the province Dan Plato and Premier Helen Zille, were all present.

After reaching Nyanga station following a 90-minute march, Maimane made his case to the assembled crowd.

"Our country is under siege by criminals. Across South Africa we are losing the fight against crime, and we are losing it because the ANC has no incentive to deal with crime," he claimed.

"In the Presidency, there are 98 police officers for one person. They are here to protect the politicians, and not protect the people," he said.

Maimane and DA MP in the police portfolio committee Zakhele Mbhele both said that the circumstances warranted special action.

"We do not take this call lightly," Mbhele told the crowd. "Under normal circumstances, this would not be necessary. But this [rise in gang-related crime] is not normal circumstances."

READ MORE: Cele says no to army deployment for Cape Town's crime-ridden streets

Plato said the party was not calling for the army to wage war, but rather to act as a "force multiplier" and help the police with fighting crime.

Maimane also expressed his anger at the recent arrest of ANC Luthuli House employee Errol Present for alleged involvement in three cash-in-transit heists.


"How can you be protected when the people who are in charge are criminals?" Maimane exclaimed.

"We're saying, genoeg is genoeg (enough is enough)," Maimane said towards the end of his speech. 

"We are here, saying one thing: the police can't cope, we need the army, now," he said, the crowd of DA supporters joining in.

Mkongi – who was there in his capacity as deputy minister and who was due to accept the memorandum – and the DA got into their first disagreement after the deputy minister tried to board the sound truck from which Maimane was speaking to accept the memo.

Maimane, however, disembarked, and wanted to hand the memorandum over in front of Nyanga police station.

The pair disagreed vehemently outside the station, with a frustrated-looking Maimane eventually leaving the scene and an angry Mkongi then addressing a separate set of protesters, who were there demanding land.

'A natural black fool'

Speaking from a loudhailer on a police van, Mkongi said: "They are coming in a truck to an African township. There is no gangsterism here, but there's crime. Gangsterism is in Mitchells Plain. Why is Maimane not marching to Mitchells Plain?"

He accused Maimane of coming to the ANC ward because the DA was "in crisis and losing votes" in the Western Cape. Without elaborating, he accused the party of trying to stir tensions between "coloureds and Africans".

"I do not accept that memorandum, because it's political. If they want a political battle, they must go to the ANC office, and present that. We are a government, and we won't respond to Mickey Mouse parties and Mickey Mouse black fools.

"Maimane is just a natural black fool. We have made him at least to have a relationship with a white woman, because if we were not in government here, by the way Maimane was not going to have a relationship with a white woman.

"So we are not accepting this memorandum, it's political."

READ MORE: Mkongi's office 'can't confirm' if he posted Facebook rant against Maimane

The march ended with both sets of protesters heading in separate directions.

Earlier in the day, Western Cape DA leader Madikizela said the call for the army was not "a political stunt. It's actually very serious".

"The South African Police Service is struggling to combat gangsterism in many areas in the city," he said.

On Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said an hour before the DA's march that the South African National Defence Force would not be deployed to deal with gangsterism and high crime rates in Cape Town's low-income communities.

Read more on:    da  |  bongani mkongi  |  mmusi maimane  |  cape town  |  crime  |  protest

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