The Democratic Alliance has condemned the announcement made by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, that the South African National Defence Force will be deployed to assist the South African Police with patrolling beaches in the Garden Route.
It is well known that South Africa suffers from an extremely high crime rate. Rape, gender-based violence, murder, farm attacks and gang warfare are all but out of control.
Earlier this week, a vigilante mob attacked and beheaded two suspected gang members in Durban, while last Tuesday 11-year-old Kgothatso Tshabalala was stabbed to death in Mamelodi, allegedly by a man angry at her mother.
Every day, community papers on the Cape Flats carry more stories of innocent men, women and children caught in gang crossfire while going about their everyday lives.
It is under circumstances such as this that Minister Cele chooses to prioritise the chasing down of surfers on the beach and the confrontation of sunbathers and joggers on promenades.
“The DA has for years requested the deployment of the SANDF in gang-ridden areas of the Cape Flats, but these requests have always fallen on deaf ears. This is indicative of Minister Cele’s skewed priorities,” said Andrew Whitfield, the DA Shadow Minister of Police.
“While SAPS has a budget close on double that of the SANDF and its personnel numbers exceed the 187 000 mark as opposed to the SANDF with around 75 000 soldiers, surely police have the resources to handle a few surfers on their own?
Calling in the SANDF for this purpose is an admission of failure on the Minister’s part.
It is becoming increasingly clear that our national security personnel are being misused in order to serve the authoritarian agendas of ANC Ministers hell-bent on controlling rather than governing,” added Whitfield.
Surfers were chased out of the water at Cape St Francis yesterday while surfers have also been chased out at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay, commonly regarded as the best wave in the world.
The Kouga Municipality went to court last month to try overturn the regulations banning people from going to the beach but were unsuccessful.