Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says deploying soldiers in the gang-ridden areas of the Western Cape will not solve the problem.  Malema says the country’s number one enemy is poverty and not crime and gangsterism.

Malema has been addressing scores of party members at the third Students Command Assembly taking place at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein.

The Police Ministry this week announced that it would be deploying the  South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to assist the police in crime-ridden areas such as the Cape Flats.  The Army said its operation to assist the police in fighting crime on the Cape Flats will be known as Operation Prosper. The SANDF later announced that the soldiers would not be deployed on Friday as they needed to complete paperwork.

The SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the army will be deployed from this month to October this year, pending the re-assessment of the situation.

The deployment of the Army in the Cape Flats has also received resistance from Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde.

Winde said the deployment of the army to gang-ridden areas of the Cape Flats should be seen as an interim measure. Winde expressed that he’s hopeful that the move will stabilise the affected areas.

Meanwhile, the community of Blikkiesdorp in Delft on the Cape Flats say they are looking forward to the deployment of the army in their area.

A 27-year-old man was shot and killed in the area on Friday night. A 22-year-old woman was also shot and wounded. Police say six structures and a minibus were set alight. The community says it was revenge attack by gangs. A woman who did not want to be identified, says the army must come as soon as possible.

“This place is terrible now, we’re not going to sleep tonight (Saturday), we are traumatised, we don’t even sleep at home. We don’t want to stay here anymore”.