Sailors and soldiers shoulder to shoulder in Western Cape coronavirus prevention

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The latest stop on Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula coronavirus awareness visits to bases and facilities around the country was Western Cape.

She visited SA Navy fleet headquarters and Naval Base Simon’s Town last week. This was after visits to the SA Army Infantry School in Oudtshoorn, also in the Western Cape, and the Hoedspruit and Makhado air force bases in Limpopo. During her stops, the Minister also assessed how military bases and facilities can be best utilised and extended to people in surrounding areas, according to Department of Defence (DoD) head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini.

A statement issued by Naval Base Simon’s Town media liaison Commander Leverne Nsibande has it that there have been “several interventions” by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) since Commander-in-Chief President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the coronavirus lockdown on 26 March.

“Mass screening (door-to-door) and testing identified by the Department of Health is conducted by the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) as part of targeted operations on a seven day rotation in specific areas. The operations are in Bontehuwel at a community centre at the Metropolitan sports field where testing is done to identified community residents. Another testing site is in Khayelitsha Site B where screening has been done since 25 May as part of the SANDF mass screening and testing effort.

“More than 700 SANDF personnel have been deployed since the lockdown started in support of the SA Police Service (SAPS) across Western Cape,” the statement said.

In terms of numbers there are 15 military personnel (SA Army and SA Navy) deployed at provincial roadblocks. These have been, are and will continue on the N7 (Bitterfontein); N2 (Plettenberg Bay) and N1/R61 (Beaufort West) and Tsitsikamma toll plaza. Additionally, soldiers are deployed daily in the Cape Metro in the police clusters of Blue Downs, Cape Town, Khayelitsha, Milnerton, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Tygerberg, Wynberg and Faure SAPS Base as well as N1, N2 and R300 roadblocks.