The Army Goes to Bellville

Richard Stupart

Yesterday morning SANDF troops from 9 South African Infantry battalion took part in a raid in Bellville, Western Cape, in an operation authorities claimed was meant to search for illegal immigrants, counterfeit good and drugs. Civil society group R2K has condemned the deployment of the army in a policing role in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

SANDF soldiers, with unloaded assault rifles, walk toward their marshalling point in preparation for a cordon and search operation with police in Bellville, Western Cape.

SANDF soldiers, here with unloaded assault rifles, walk toward their marshalling point in preparation for a cordon and search operation with police in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

SANDF soldiers maintain a perimeter to allow police to conduct a 'cordon and search' operation in Bellville, Western Cape.

SANDF soldiers maintain a perimeter to allow police to conduct a ‘cordon and search’ operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldiers stands guard at the perimeter of a police-led cordon and search operation. The soldiers are not permitted to carry out standard law-enforcement actions, so they did not take direct part in the searches and arrests. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldiers stands guard at the perimeter of a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. The soldiers are not permitted to carry out standard law-enforcement actions, so they did not take direct part in the searches and arrests. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

Store owners and staff watch as SANDF soldiers walk past during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

Store owners and staff watch as SANDF soldiers walk past during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

A single SANDF soldiers stands at the perimeter during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. The steel cable, used to attach the soldier's assault rifle to his body to prevent crowds from wrenching it free, is clearly visible. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

A single SANDF soldier stands at the perimeter during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. The steel cable, used to attach the soldier’s assault rifle to his body to prevent crowds from wrenching it free, is clearly visible. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldier stands in front of one of his unit's Mamba armoured personnel carriers during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldier stands in front of one of his unit’s Mamba armoured personnel carriers during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

SANDF soldiers maintain a perimeter to allow police to conduct a 'cordon and search' operation in Bellville, Western Cape.

SANDF soldiers maintain a perimeter to allow police to conduct a ‘cordon and search’ operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

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SANDF soldiers stand guard in front of shops during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. Widespread looting has been a common element of recent xenophobia violence. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldier climbs aboard one of his unit's Mamba armoured personnel carriers during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR

An SANDF soldier climbs aboard one of his unit’s Mamba armoured personnel carriers during a police-led cordon and search operation in Bellville, Western Cape. TRENT PERKINS/ADR