Concerns raised as murders in Cape Town shoot up at weekend despite SANDF presence

SANDF members have been deployed to the Cape Flats to help the police quell gang violence.
SANDF members have been deployed to the Cape Flats to help the police quell gang violence.
Image: GroundUp/Ashraf Hendricks

Nearly 50 people were murdered in Cape Town at the weekend.

This was an increase from the weekend before, but the provincial government said it was a "declining trend from previous payday weekends, which usually have the highest death toll".

According to the Western Cape provincial government, of the 46 deaths, 21 were from shootings, 20 from stabbings and five from other causes.

This was an increase from the 25 murders recorded by the province’s forensics services the weekend before.

The province also recorded several reports of shootings that left residents injured. Among those shot and injured were two children, aged six and 16. A Russian tourist was also stabbed to death on Table Mountain at the weekend.

“We are concerned that following a quieter weekend last weekend, to coincide with the first deployment of SANDF troops, we have seen a sharp increase in murder numbers again. What these numbers underline is that we cannot rely on the SANDF alone to help solve the problem of crime in the province.

"The police, all levels of government and the public all have a role to play in helping to reduce the scourge of crime in our city," said Western Cape premier Alan Winde.

He said the "payday weekend" was traditionally the most violent weekend of each month.

"In May, 71 murders were recorded over the payday weekend, and in June, 66. While there were still 46 murders too many this weekend, we are seeing a downward trend in this regard, which we hope to see continue in coming months.

"We saw an increased number of stabbings across the metro this week, which may be cases of interpersonal violence, and not gang-related. We know that incidents of interpersonal violence are often fuelled by alcohol. As a province, we have increased measures to reduce the harmful impact of alcohol. However, we call on citizens to play their part by using alcohol responsibly," Winde said.

It was too early to record the "real" impact of the deployment of the SANDF, "but with just a three-month window in which to stabilise the situation, we call on the police to make maximum use of the additional resources provided by the SANDF," he said.

Children and residents of Hanover Park took to the streets, now less afraid of crime taking place due to the large presence of SANDF troops and police in the notorious gang-ridden area.

“We cannot expect the SANDF to solve this crisis. They are a temporary tool at our disposal. What we really need is a fully resourced, functioning police service, and in order to do this, we need effective, committed police management.”

Winde said the province had several programmes in place aimed at increasing safety in communities, including the recent deployment of 100 law-enforcement officers in Bonteheuwel.

"We are also very seriously engaging on the issue of a new police commissioner for the province, as we are looking for the best possible candidate to lead the police services," Winde said.

Western Cape provincial minister of community safety Albert Fritz said: “I welcome the temporary appointment of Lt-Gen Sindile Mfazi, which will allow us to follow a proper process to appoint a permanent provincial police commissioner.

"It is essential that the process be concluded swiftly and in a transparent manner, given the vast number of murders which take place in our province each weekend. It is further essential that a provincial police commissioner be appointed prior to the start of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) elections between September and December 2019."

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