MK vets set to take on thugs

Military veterans could soon be unleashed to help fight crime in KwaZulu-Natal.

That is if a plan by newly appointed head of the department of community safety and liaison Themba Mavundla materialises.

"The full details of this project will be unveiled soon. These developments excite me, the veterans are experienced in the issues of safety and security. Police alone cannot eradicate crime," Mavundla, a former MK soldier, said yesterday.

The proposal comes with an increase of criminal activities in the province, including murder, taxi violence, hostel killings and sexual molestation of elderly women.

Mavundla, who is also KwaZulu- Natal MKMVA chairman, described military veterans as "fearless and capable of fighting crime head-on".

However, KZN Violence Monitor's Mary de Haas rubbished the suggestion. "They are not trained to deal with crime. They only have military expertise," she said.

IFP caucus leader Blessed Gwala questioned Mavundla's appointment in the first place. "We are not welcoming the appointment . the ANC-led government is known to employ people based on what they were doing in the struggle, not on merit," said Gwala.

DA leader in KZN, Zwakele Mncwango, was also critical. "We have noted the tendency of employing ex-MK soldiers. I will approach my colleagues in the legislature and investigate whether Mavundla was hired on merit. If the appointment is dubious, we will take it further."

Mavundla has served in various structures in the province and nationally. He worked on the establishment of security measures for the national government and joint operations involving the SA National Defence Force.

He previously also served in different strategic forums dealing with the development, safety and security of the province.

Mavundla faces a daunting task which includes dealing with the proliferation of firearms.

Police recently seized more than 200 firearms, including AK-47 automatic rifles and ammunition.

Crimes on the increase include domestic violence and sexual offences. Last month alone, 349 people were arrested for sexual crime.

"This is just an indication of the challenge we have on our hands. Working with communities and police officers, we will be intensifying our efforts to recover these illegal firearms," said Mavundla.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for community safety Willies Mchunu, however, welcomed Mavundla's appointment: "He boasts military background, having held key positions in the SANDF and [the] SAPS."