South Africa to deploy army in the streets to fight crime

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JOHANNESBURG – South African government’s Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says perhaps the time has come to review policies to ensure soldiers assist the police in the fight against crime.

Mapisa Nqakula spoke at the funeral of the former Inspector General of the Department of Defence, Major General Mxolisi Petane in Cape Town.

The Minister along with others gathered to bid a freedom fighter farewell. Petane was arrested in the ’80s while on an MK operation. “He was the first soldier of the MK to demand that the judge presiding over his case should treat them as a soldier and not terrorist but the judge dismissed  the appeal,” says former MK member Tony Yengeni.

Petane was sentenced to 17 years on Robben Island. He was released in 1991 and joined the SANDF. Post-apartheid he rose through the ranks to become a major general. During his funeral service in Gugulethu, gunshots rang out in a nearby community.

“There is a clear undermining of the state like today when we are burying the whole general hundreds of meters away from here there is shooting by criminals. I think in such instances really if there is a way we can reinforce we should do so,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

The destruction of public property was also criticised.

“It is painful when people like Mxolisi fought for a better education for all yet today we see our kids burning institutions of learning and I think it’s about time South Africans that we should stand up and defend the gains of our revolution,” says SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke.

Petane was described by his family as a caring father who loved his family, community and his country. General Petane was laid to rest at the Maitland Cemetry with full military colours.