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Defence Minister leaves army deployment decision to the President

Defence Minister leaves army deployment decision to the President

The Minister of Defence has left the decision on whether or not to deploy the army to the gang violence-riddled areas of the Western Cape to President Jacob Zuma.

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged receiving Police Minister Fikile Mbalula's request for the army to be deployed to assist under-resourced police in the area.

However, spokesperson for the minister, Joy Nonzukiso-Peter, said that the minister did not have the final say in the matter.

"There is one commander-in-chief in the Republic of South Africa and that is the president. The president would have to have a final say, the minister does not deploy," Nonzukiso-Peter said.

This signals a change in government's stance towards the issue of gang violence in the province.

A request for assistance made by Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was previously denied without this level of engagement being publicly shown in assessing the request.

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