Army intervention showing results as murders drop to 'only' 30 a week
Thirteen weeks have passed since soldiers arrived in the gang-ridden crime hotspots of the Cape Flats - and, after the operation was initially criticised for being ineffective, the number of murders in the area has now steadily dropped.
This is no cause for celebration, however, as the number sits at around 30 murders a week across the province.
In the past two weeks alone, 889 arrests have been made for an array of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and robbery. Of that figure, 337 of those arrested were wanted suspects.
"The situation has been stabilising and murders are now averaging in the 30s per week, provincially," said police spokesperson Novela Potelwa.
"That is testament to the hard work of the integrated forces as well as station, cluster/district and provincial deployments. Figures aside, the absence of serious violent crime incidents, particularly on weekends when crime often peaks, is on its own an indication that the impact of the operational intervention is beginning to yield results."
Potelwa said that SANDF forces which had been deployed to the area had worked as a supplementary aid to the law enforcement groups currently operating there.
"Since July 2019, without fail, integrated forces attached to Operation Lockdown have been hard at work executing operations in the identified areas or as guided by the crime threat analysis.
"All role players ... have been descending week after week on a number of targeted precincts in an effort to create safety for all," she said.
"Raids, operations, cordon and searches, vehicle checkpoints, roadblocks and search and seizures have been a common occurrence, particularly on weekends when most criminal acts occur."
The SANDF contract in the Western Cape was extended to March 2020.