As the army starts the first weekend of its deployment on the Cape Flats, residents remain hopeful that violent crime will soon be reduced.

Recent weekends have seen a spike in violence in areas like Philippi and Hanover Park, sparking an outcry from communities on the Cape Flats and ultimately led to the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) this week.

The army is gradually making themselves visible in gang-ridden areas and was in Elsies River on Friday.

On Thursday, the army was deployed to Manenberg and Hanover Park, providing support to S-A-P-S members.

Members of the SANDF made their way into Elsies River on Friday night. This time they had aerial support and were accompanied by the dog unit.

Police officers searched homes, vehicles in parking lots, and tuckshops, while the army covered the perimeter, preventing people from coming in and out.

Elsies River resident Debbie Smith said crime is high in this area and hopes that the army’s presence will be more frequent.

“We feel safe and I think it’s okay for the army to be here; for our children’s safety and for our safety. The shooting and robbing are bad.”

Another resident said she is concerned about young people and children becoming victims of crime.

“I’m satisfied with the army being deployed in this area because our young boys have died because of rampant crime and gang violence.”

Elsies River is one of 10 key areas identified where army deployment could help police, including Manenberg, Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, and Nyanga.

Thanks for reading and for your interest in South Africa. Content is produced in collaboration between iAfrica’s editorial team and partners — including nongovernmental organizations, private sector stakeholders, agencies and institutions. If you are interested in sharing stories to shine a spotlight on a particular issue, please email We look forward to hearing from you.