Despite his earlier promises that he would ask for the army to be brought in to help bring gang violence under control in Gauteng and the Western Cape, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has not made an official request to President Jacob Zuma to do so, The Times reported.
Two weeks ago, amid much fanfare, Mbalula announced that he would ask the army to step in. But only the president can authorise the deployment of troops.
According to News24, Mbalula said in a statement: "It has been decided that urgent additional steps must be taken in order to inter-departmentally manage the current scourge of crime in general.
"Stabilisation and combating of these criminal activities are within the mandate of the South African Police Service but due to the large groupings and military training of some of the perpetrators, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is requested to assist."
Dr Johan Burger from the Institute for Security Studies, writing for the Mail & Guardian, said the army could only be deployed under specific circumstances.
"The SANDF may only be deployed by the president, who has to inform Parliament and give detailed instructions for the deployment. This includes how many soldiers will be deployed, how long they will be deployed, when exactly the deployments starts in which areas precisely and what their responsibilities will be," he wrote.
It appears as if Mbalula is not aware of this.
A spokesman for Mbalula, Vuyo Mhaga, told The Times that the minister had asked defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to request the deployment of the troops from Zuma.
But Zuma has not received a request. His spokesperson, Bongani Ngqulunga, told The Times that no request had been received.