President Ramaphosa has written to parliament on the deployment of additional South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members for support of services related to COVID-19.
In a statement, parliament confirmed that, as indicated in the president’s letter, “employment of the additional 73180 SANDF members was for service in co-operation with the South African Police Service to maintain law and order, to support other state departments and to control South Africa’s border to combat the spread of COVID-19 in all nine provinces…”.
According to parliament, the deployment is in terms of Section 201(2) (a) of the Constitution of South Africa of 1996 and Section 18 (1) of the Defence Act of 2002 and is expected to incur revised expenditure of R4,590,393,940.00.
In another statement, the joint standing committee on defence expressed its support for the deployment of additional SANDF members.
“The committee is satisfied by the reasons given and the necessity to employ an additional 73 180 members of the SANDF in the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, particularly in light of the information that South Africa is still in the early stages of the pandemic.”
The committee also considers the cost implications of approximately R4.5 billion “necessary in the context of the unprecedented nature of the disease, which demands an extraordinary response”.
Concerns were raised about the alleged abuse of power by some members of the SANDF, which has the potential to damage the legitimacy and image of the SANDF in the fight against Covid-19.
“The committee calls on all members of the SANDF to act within the confines of the law and SANDF’s Code of Conduct, which guides the conduct of all uniformed personnel, especially during deployments.”
Citizens were also called upon to cooperate with the security forces by abiding with the regulations thereby limiting the need to interact with security personnel.