'Intense deployment' of SANDF in Cape to last three months: Cele

Gangsterism at a crisis level in the Western Cape and the military is deployed to keep the peace.

CAPE TOWN - Soldiers will deploy in Cape Town's crime-ridden townships after a surge of shootings, gang violence and murders, the head of the defence forces said.

They will bolster the city's struggling police force for three months, patrolling on foot and in vehicles through districts identified as criminal hotspots.

General Solly Shoke, chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), said the military "will deploy a battalion with support elements during the operation."

Cele: SANDF to be deployed to the Cape Flats

Neighbourhoods including Bonteheuwel, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi East have been plagued by gang-related violence.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the "intense deployment" of the military would last three months.

"We believe that by the time that time comes, we would have normalised the situation and we'll sustain that through normal policing," he said.

According to Cele, murders in the Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, increased by 6.3 percent from 3,729 to 3,963 during the year to April 2019.

READ: Poorer Cape communities 'easy target for gangs'

"We'll go door to door, we'll collect every illegal firearm, we'll collect all criminals that we want, we'll collect all outstanding criminals that have been on bail and that is happening from two o'clock this (Friday) morning," Cele told reporters.

The Democratic Alliance, which has governed the Western Cape since 2011, welcomed the temporary military intervention saying it was long overdue.

"Countless mothers have buried their innocent children and life in these communities has been a never-ending nightmare," it said in a statement.

"The DA trusts that the deployment of the SANDF to various communities in the Western Cape will bring much-needed stability in the Western Cape."