Plato slates Zuma’s decision to bring in the army for SONA


Plato slates Zuma’s decision to bring in the army for SONA

Philani Nombembe | 2017-02-08 13:40:17.0

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said that SANDF troops deployed during Sona are ‘an insult to communities in the Western Cape who live in fear on a daily basis’. File photo.

Image by: SUPPLIED

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has joined a growing cacophony of voices slating President Jacob Zuma for the deployment of more than 400 troops during his state of the nation address.

The presidency announced this week that Zuma has authorised the placement of 441 members of the South African Defence Force to maintain “law and order” during the opening of parliament between February 5 and February 10. His spokesperson‚ Bongani Ngqulunga‚ said the army will work with the police.

Opposition parties have attacked the decision – some describing it as a “declaration of war on citizens”. Plato described it as “an insult to communities in the Western Cape who live in fear on a daily basis”. The provincial government has been calling on Zuma to deploy the army in the gang infested areas on the Cape Flats for the last couple of years.

“The scourge of gangs‚ drugs and guns in our communities leave too many people fearing for their lives and too many innocent lives lost in the cross-fire‚” Plato said.

“Calls by the Western Cape Government in the past for military assistance to maintain law and order have been met with heavy criticism from national government. We believe the additional support would allow the SAPS to continue their investigative work to rid our streets of gangsters‚ druglords and gunrunners. President Zuma’s deployment of the military to parliament to protect him during the SONA 2017 clearly shows that the pleas of people in the Western Cape are not deserving of the President’s attention‚ or national government’s proactive action.”

Plato said Zuma promised too that two new specialised units would be established to deal with illegal firearms and drugs during his State of the Nation Address replies last year. But Plato said nothing has come of it and it “seems to have been nothing more than lip service”.

“It is now one year later and we are still no closer to providing the law enforcement resources needed to address the problems our communities face‚” said Plato. “The Western Cape supports the crime-fighting efforts of the provincial police under the management of Lieutenant-General (Khombinkosi) Jula. I call on the national government security cluster and President Zuma to capacitate the police in the province with resources‚ manpower and the inter-agency assistance needed to protect those who are caught in the crossfire.”

– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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