The Cape Flats, a sprawling poor area on the outskirts of Cape Town, has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's crime crisis, the country's key transshipment point for dagga (cannabis), tik (cystal meth) and heroin. Long-simmering gang wars over control of the traffic exploded into horrific violence this year, leading to political stand-offs over how to respond. Western Cape province has called a special commission of inquiry into police actions in the conflicted township of Khayelitsha following charges that corrupt and aggressive policing has enflamed violence and led to vigilantism. But national Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says the inquiry is illegal and exceeds provincial powers. In July, a request from West Cape Premier Helen Zille for military troops to patrol the Flats was turned down by President Jacob Zuma. By then, some 25 people, including seven children, had been killed in drug-related violence in the Flats over the past five months. (And you think your hood bad!)
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