More soldiers have been deployed to enforce Covid regulations: What you need to know

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the recent deployment of soldiers during level 3 of lockdown was to help preserve life, health and property and would prevent crime.

Ramaphosa informed parliament earlier this week in a letter received by the National Assembly speaker, Thandi Modise, and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo that he had approved the deployment of more than 2,000 soldiers as SA remained on lockdown. 

Their deployment started on December 29 and will end on January 31. Ramaphosa made the decision shortly after announcing that SA would go to level 3 lockdown on December 28 to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Here’s what you need to know: 

How many soldiers were deployed – and why?

There are 2,122 deployed soldiers. They are to assist members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) in enforcing the adjusted level 3 regulations.

Their duties are to: “preserve life, health or property in an emergency or humanitarian relief operations in support of other government departments and in co-operation with the police to prevent crime and enforce restrictions under the adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations”.

How much does it cost?

According to a government statement, the deployment will cost SA R95m. 

How many soldiers have been deployed since the start of lockdown?

South Africans in different parts of the country have witnessed the presence of SANDF soldiers who were appointed to enforce the lockdown regulations.

Here’s the breakdown of their deployment since the start of the lockdown last year: 

  • 2,820 were deployed on March 25 – two days before SA went on national lockdown; 
  • 76,000 were deployed on April 21; and
  • 20,000 were deployed on June 30.

What does the portfolio committee say? 

The co-chairperson of the joint standing committee on defence, Cyril Xaba, commended the deployment.

“These deployments have contributed greatly to the fight against Covid-19 and the preservation of life,” said Xaba. 

Updated: January 21, 2021 — 1:17 pm

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