Mayor calls for military base for Durban

ETHEKWINI Mayor, Zandile Gumede‘s idea to have a central military base for Durban, which would be on call in times of crisis, has drawn criticism from security experts.

According to reports, Gumede aims to have a force which will be available to help the police, Metro Police and other local authorities deal with a surge in violence or natural disasters, however security experts have said the military does not intervene in internal civilian matters.

Gumede allegedly spoke to army generals regarding this idea, and is said to be waiting for feedback on whether a military base for eThekwini could be a reality.

She said readily-available military personnel would be able assist with the senseless killings in hostels, township violence and disasters that strike in the metro.

She stated she did not want to undermine the existing SAPS and Metro Police, but felt the expertise of the soldiers could be of benefit to the eThekwini community.

In reports, Siphiwe Dlamini, head of communications for the SANDF, said the matter was between the mayor and the army generals, however he said the military don’t intervene in internal civilian matters unless they get a distress call from the police for assistance. He said during disasters, municipalities sought defence assistance through the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

In further response, a researcher said he felt the move would be dangerous for communities and a law specialist said she felt militarisation could worsen a volatile situation.


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Lauren Walford

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