Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that SANDF will maintain their presence on the streets ‘for the next few months‘ after they were controversially deployed to help with law enforcement operations during the lockdown. The cohort of soldiers will be enlisted to keep the peace going forward, and it’s worth noting:
- More than 20 000 soldiers will be asked to ‘remain on patrol’ for the next three months.
- The deployment rolled over on 27 June and will extend until the end of September.
- This is set to cost the state R1.5 billion.
SANDF extend their stay on the streets
This number is significantly smaller than the 76 000 troops who were asked to uphold law and order alongside SAPS back in March. Despite a well-behaved majority, there have been various issues raised about the conduct of certain military representatives, including the murder of Collins Khosa.
The civilian was killed after an altercation with soldiers who aggressively raided his home. Meanwhile, multiple reports of SANDF brutality have made national headlines since the pandemic began.
Ramaphosa backs his soldiers
Ramaphosa, though, has faith in his army. He said that soldiers will be asked to control SA’s borders and help to combat the spread of coronavirus across the country:
“Their [SANDF] service is in co-operation with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order, to support other state departments and to control South Africa’s borderline and to combat the spread of Covid-19 in all nine provinces… Soldiers are still required to combat the spread of the pandemic”.
The 10-figure sum Cyril Ramaphosa has parted with to keep a military presence on the streets may have been influenced by a spike in transmission. Despite entering a hard lockdown in March, the peak of coronavirus infections is yet to hit South Africa – and Thursday saw a record-breaking number of new cases registered.
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