'I'll take my chances with the army. There is a war, and they are bloody soldiers' - Manenberg mom

2017-10-13 18:52
Fikile Mbalula in Hanover Park. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Fikile Mbalula in Hanover Park. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - A Manenberg mother of two says her children would rather be a "little rattled" by soldiers walking through the streets than running from gang bullets for one more day.

"I will take my chances with the army," the woman said from the sidelines of a visit to the Cape Flats community by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Friday.

"Right now, all we have is our hopeless police. And do you see them changing anything here?"

Mbalula on Tuesday announced that he had asked the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to help tackle crime in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

READ: Mbalula asks army to help quell violence in WC and Gauteng

The woman said she too had, for years, been calling for the army to be brought in, but dismissed the special operations which saw army members briefly deployed in areas such as Manenberg as "a useless waste of time".

"Hulle was skaars weg, toe ruk die ding weer [They had barely left, and the drama started again]," she recalled.

"This has to be a long-term thing. There is a war, and they are bloody soldiers. They have to walk these streets and shoot the rubbishes just like the rubbishes shoot us. They can’t be here one minute and gone the next."

'We will deal with them, fire by fire'

Mbalula, during his walkabout in Manenberg on Friday, said the deployment would go ahead "once the president has made up his mind".

"We will work with them as a multiplier force in the context of [anti-gang strategy] Operation Fiela. We are not looking at deploying the SANDF statically. It will be operationalised, and led by the police," he said.

His decision had been criticised, Mbalula said.

"But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to act. If you succeed, they’ll thank you later.

"I know the situation here – bullets are flying, kids can’t go to school, people are terrorised. I need to sweep this place. And I am doing it now with the police."

He couldn't "allow our people to die and be terrorised by criminals", he said.

"The soldiers aren’t coming here to kill anybody. They will deal with anyone who is combative, in terms of wielding dangerous guns and shooting. We will deal with them, fire by fire."

'Yes, we have to squeeze their balls!'

Mbalula earlier also walked the streets of Hanover Park, less than 5km from Manenberg, where locals seemed happy with his decision to call in the military.

"Yes, we have to squeeze their balls!" one older local told him, calling him the best police minister the country had ever had.

Others told Mbalula about the conditions they were forced to live in, and being too afraid to set foot out of their homes.

"We just want to be safe. Please man, minister, make it happen," one mother walking her child home from school called out.

ALSO READ: Army necessary to stop gang-fuelled 'genocide' in Cape Town - residents

While the deployment of the army seemed to get a thumbs up from most of those trying to catch a glimpse of the minister, not everyone was supportive, arguing that it would result in the criminalisation of an entire community, and be reminiscent of the army being sent into the townships under the apartheid regime.


Read more on:    saps  |  sandf  |  fikile mbalula  |  cape town  |  crime

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