On 11 July President Cyril Ramaphosa approved the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) units to help the South African Police Service (SAPS) combat unacceptable levels of violence in the Cape Flats. The question is whether this action is appropriate and whether it will be effective.
There can be no doubt regarding the seriousness of the situation: 2 302 people were murdered in Cape Town during the first six months of 2019. This represents a murder rate of more than 100/100 000 – compared with 33/100 000 for South Africa and 6/100 000 for the world. This gives Cape Town one of the highest murder rates in the world.
This already deplorable situation was further exacerbated over the weekend of 5 and 6 July 2019, when 13 people were violently killed in the township of Philippi East, located in Cape Town’s notorious gang-ridden Cape Flats. Of those killed, six were women who were gunned down brutally at a residence in the Marcus Garvey area. Another three young people, between the ages of 17 and 25, were shot dead at a friend’s home. Following the spate of deaths, residents from Philippi East, most of them women, marched to the neighbourhood’s police station to demand more effective police action.