SANDF's deployment to Cape Flats: Cabinet to 'assess situation' after Premier Winde calls for an extension

Ministers of State Security and Defence and Military Veterans (Ethan Van Diemen, News24)
Ministers of State Security and Defence and Military Veterans (Ethan Van Diemen, News24)

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday said that they have received a letter from Western Cape Premier Alan Winde where he calls for an extension of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployment to the Cape Flats which ends next week. 

The minister added that a determination on the request would be made once a "proper assessment of the situation" had taken place.

Mapisa-Ngakula, on behalf of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster of ministers was briefing the media following a week of violent protests, looting and tragic reports of femicide and gender-based violence.

"We are aware that the Premier of the Western Cape has written to the president, copied ministers of police [and minister of] defence calling on us to extend the deployment of the army in the Western Cape. 

"Now, I'm sure you know this but we don't just take that decision because somebody is calling on us to extend or even calling on us to deploy. There has to be a proper assessment of the situation which will then make a determination whether we extend or we don't extend," she said.  

News24 previously reported that Cele said work done by the South African Police Service (SAPS), together with the SANDF, in gang-ridden areas in the Western Cape has resulted in more than 1 000 arrests

Of those, 806 were already in the system and were wanted for various crimes, including murder, attempted murder, hijacking and theft.

Mapisa-Ngakula continued that "what I do know is that our deployment to the Western Cape comes to an end next week. So we will then sit and receive information whether in fact, it is still necessary to continue in the Western Cape and if it is necessary based on whatever information which will come then we will make a determination to stay.

"If not, we will withdraw."

The deployment, News24 reported, commenced on July 18 and will run up until at least September 16 at a cost of R23m.

The minister cautioned that "...remember that for every deployment here internally, papers are prepared, a presidential minute by the President, Parliament must be informed so that decision obviously would have to be taken as quickly as possible because then we have that obligation to account to Parliament before deployment." 

Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution provides that only the President may authorise the deployment of the SANDF, in co-operation with the police.

The Constitution and Defence Act make provision for the deployment of the SANDF to support the SAPS when deemed necessary. There are strict prerequisites for this.

The President has to inform Parliament and give detailed instructions for the deployment. This includes how many soldiers will be deployed, how long they will be deployed, when exactly the deployment starts, in which areas precisely and what their responsibilities will be.

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