President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 2122 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members to bolster government’s efforts to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections.
Ramaphosa wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo, in which he stated that the SANDF services were required “in order to preserve life, health or property in emergency or humanitarian relief operations”.
The army will also help in preventing crime and enforcing adjusted lockdown level 3 restrictions.
The deployment will continue until the end of January, and will cost R95,666,944.
The latest SANDF deployment is far less than previous lockdown levels.
On 25 March 2020, 2820 SANDF members were deployed. In April, that number grew to 76,000, and in June 2020, 20,000 soldiers were deployed.
200 SANDF personnel on maritime patrols in the Mozambique Channel have already been deployed as part of Operation Copper. This relates to peacekeeping efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with 1165 SANDF soldiers forming part of the UN stabilising mission.
This is in addition to support from 15 companies as part of “Operation Corona”, which was instituted to safeguard the country’s borders, an effort that is required especially in light of the 20 ports of entry into South Africa now having been closed to the public.
Compiled by Nica Richards.