Authorities in South Africa will deploy the army to parts of the Western Cape province, including the port city of Cape Town, to help police battle a surge of gang-related violence in its poorer neighbourhoods.
The defence ministry announced in a statement on Friday that troops would be sent to the “worst-affected crime areas” for at least three months from July. The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said the deployment will take place at a later date and not on Friday as the ministry had announced.
The ministry’s move came after recent bloodshed in mainly poor majority-black and mixed-race areas prompted a provincial official to liken the situation in parts of the province to a “war zone”, with some 2,000 people killed since January.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the army’s deployment – backed by President Cyril Ramaphosa – was part of “extraordinary” measures that needed to be taken to ensure public safety.