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The army can only buy time - analyst on extending SANDF's Cape Flats deployment

It's only a matter of weeks before the South African National Defence Force's (SANDF's) three-month deployment to the Cape Flats comes to an end.

There have been calls from some community safety representatives to extend the deployment in gang-riddled areas, with the army declaring the exercise a success.

RELATED: SANDF deployment costs on Cape Flats not high - military expert

Cape Talk's Africa Melane gets military and defence analyst Helmoed Heitman's take on the situation.

Heitman says if it's shown it would be worthwhile for the army to stay on to help police develop more intelligence to get the gang ringleaders out of the system, an extension would be justified.

It is a short time, I don't know how they calculated the three months. It would only be worthwhile, assuming the police's crime intelligence and investigation people did a lot of homework ahead of time so when the army moves in and helps stabilise the area, they can go in and pull out the ringleaders and key people.

Helmoed Heitman, Military and defence analyst - Jane's Defence Weekly

RELATED: 'SANDF deployment a rallying point for communities to start own operations'

Heitman says in this scenario, he would have recommended a six-month deployment.

That gives plenty of time for things to calm down and for people to feel confident, for social workers also to go in and identify people who are halfway into gangs that can still be pulled back from that.

Helmoed Heitman, Military and defence analyst - Jane's Defence Weekly

He says the army can only serve to buy time and create stability for the police to their do _their _work.

The police themselves can only then maintain further stability for other people to come in, for social workers and others to go in and change things.

Helmoed Heitman, Military and defence analyst - Jane's Defence Weekly

The long-term solution is neither police nor military. The long-term solution has to be socio-economic, there is no military solution to this.

Helmoed Heitman, Military and defence analyst - Jane's Defence Weekly

For more from Heitman, listen here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : The army can only buy time - analyst on extending SANDF's Cape Flats deployment


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