Soldiers’ crime-fighting deployment extension will cost R64 million


The six month extension of Operation Lockdown which has South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers assisting police in crime-fighting operations on the Cape Flats will cost over R64 million.

The initial two month deployment of soldiers from 9 SA Infantry Battalion, which ended on Monday 16 September, was budgeted to cost slightly more than R23 million.

According to a letter signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 13 September, the cost of the second deployment is R64 127 472. This will allow 1 322 soldiers to continue working with police to prevent and combat crime and maintain and preserve law and order in Western Cape.

Soldiers from Cape Town-based 9 SA Infantry Battalion were deployed in July to assist police in areas of the Cape Flats plagued by gang violence. These include Delft, Mitchell’s Plain, Philippi, Manenberg, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Kraaifontein.

While no Indication of any rotational unit replacement has been forthcoming from the SA National Defence Force or the SA Army, it appears the Cape Town unit will stay in place until at least year-end. 8 SAI is reportedly deployment ready and, if a decision is taken to rotate the Cape Flats unit, the Upington, Northern Cape, infantry battalion appears the most likely replacement.

The second deployment under Operation Lockdown, the SA Police Service name given the tasking, is set to end on 31 March next year. Lockdown is part of the overall SANDF tasking Operation Prosper, providing assistance to other government departments, agencies and entities. This has seen the Military Health Service sent to North West to provide healthcare and pharmaceutical services to the Mafikeng provincial hospital. Elements of the SA Army Engineer Formation are presently repairing and refurbishing Vaal River water infrastructure. The work, scheduled for completion next month (October) sees the Sappers upgrading 44 critical pump stations, refurbishing three treatment works and cleaning primary settling tanks (PSTs).