SANDF will 'donner' and won't take 'nonsense' in fighting gang violence

2017-11-01 17:35
Solly Shoke (File, Gallo Images)

Solly Shoke (File, Gallo Images)

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Pretoria – Soldiers will "donner" (hit) and won’t take nonsense, South African Defence Force Chief General Solly Shoke has warned.

Speaking at a press conference in Pretoria on Wednesday, Shoke was responding to a discussion on the SANDF’s possible deployment to Gauteng and the Western Cape, following calls from Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

In a statement in October, Mbalula asked the SANDF to help tackle crime, especially in Gauteng and in the Western Cape, where gang-related incidents have flared up.

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

Shoke said on Wednesday that the SANDF would comply if it was deployed: "We are ready, anywhere, anytime, any direction."

However, he warned that, if soldiers were deployed, the consequences of that deployment must be accepted "because we donner. We don’t take nonsense".

"I must say, we are soldiers. We take orders. We don’t determine what we do. We go anywhere, any direction where the country needs us to go," Shoke said.

He added that, if someone pointed a firearm at a soldier, that person is his enemy and will be dealt with accordingly. 

"We’re not trained to combat crime. We are trained to win battles."

'Challenges' 

Shoke said he was in Pretoria for the week to meet with commanders and added that they would deliberate a number of challenges facing the SANDF. 

"It’s an annual event where the chief of the defence force interacts with the service commanders to address challenges," he said.

He said this included issues of discipline, elements of criminality which he described as serious and disturbing, border control issues and budgetary constraints.  

He pointed out that there was a budget shrinkage on the operational side of the army, despite more tasks being given to the SANDF.  

"Right now, as we speak, people are calling for the defence force to be deployed and help the police fight crime and we cannot do that without personnel. We need boots on the ground, on the borders."

READ: Mbalula's call for help from the army means cops are failing - union

Mbalula previously said that, while combating criminal activities was the mandate of the South African Police Service, the SANDF was needed to assist because of the size of groupings and the military training of some perpetrators.

This, despite the fact that the police ministry said in 2015 that it did not believe deploying the army was necessary to help quell gang violence.

News24 previously reported that army members were temporarily deployed to certain hotspots in 2015, including Manenberg - one of the Western Cape's most volatile gang areas - as part of anti-gang strategy, Operation Fiela.

However, gun battles between gangs broke out just days after the operation was held.

Read more on:    sandf  |  solly shoke  |  fikile mbalula  |  crime

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