CAPE TOWN, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Troops began moving into gang-infested areas in Cape Town on Thursday, to the relief of residents that have been plagued by gang violence for long.
Several amored vehicles were seen along streets in Manenberg, a Cape Town suburb, signalling mass deployment in other areas.
Last Thursday, Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that troops would be deployed the following day to help police quell rising gang violence in some of Cape Town's suburbs.
His announcement came days after 13 people, including six women, were shot dead in Philippi, a notorious community infested by gangs.
But the deployment of troops were postponed as the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) went through due processes.
For more than a decade, the City of Cape Town had called on the national government to deploy the army to gang-ridden communities in support of police.
The city has seen gangs spiralling out of control in a number of communities where residents blame police for their inability to contain gangs.
Cele identified 10 key areas where troops would be deployed to help police, including Manenberg, Philippi, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain and Nyanga.
Cele had previously turned down calls for the deployment of troops to help quell gang violence in affected areas, saying the army was not trained to deal with civilians, and the rate of crime in the city has not reached the point that necessitates the deployment of the SANDF.
The opposition says the deployment of the army is indicative that police have lost the war on crimes.