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Killings unabated in South Africa’s gangland despite army presence

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Murders in South Africa’s gang-ridden areas continued to rise over the weekend despite the deployment of troops, authorities said.

A total of 46 people were murdered over the weekend, with 21 shootings, 20 stabbings and five murders by other causes in Cape Town and other areas in the Western Cape Province where gang attacks have been spiraling out of control.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde gave the crime statistics on Monday in his latest update since the deployment of troops on July 18.

There were also several reports of shootings, in which victims were injured over the weekend. Among those shot and injured were two children aged six and 16, according to Winde. During last weekend, a Ukrainian tourist was stabbed to death while hiking on Table Mountain, a tourist attraction in Cape Town, Winde said.All these happened despite intensified anti-gang operations by police, with the assistance of the deployed troops, Winde said.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) deployed the troops after police failed to stem gang-violence.

The deployment will last three months and can be extended depending on the situation. It is still too early to record the real impact of the deployment of troops in the communities affected by gangs, Winde said.

While the deployed troops have three months to stabilize the situation, “we call on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to make maximum use of the additional resources provided by the SANDF,” said Winde.

“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,” the premier said.

Winde reiterated his call on Police Minister Bheki Cele to ensure proper allocation of police resources in the Western Cape.

Confronted by rising crimes, the Western Cape province’s police force is dramatically under-resourced compared to other provinces run by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), according to Winde.

The Western Cape, the only province run by an opposition party, has requested more police officers but to no avail.

While one officer must protect 375 people on average nationally, in the Western Cape, the ratio is 1:509.

The opposition Democratic Alliance, which administers the Western Cape, accuses the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of turning a blind eye to rising crimes in the province in a bid to weaken the DA’s control.

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