Soldiers on Notlela duty in Limpopo test positive for COVID-19


The lid the national defence force has put on making public the number of soldiers testing positive for coronavirus has not reached Limpopo.

The provincial executive tasked with health in the province, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, said this week 38 soldiers in Lephalale, home to the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) training centre, tested positive for coronavirus. Tests were done over a 24 hour period as is normal procedure for National Department of Health (NDOH) testing for the virus according to the News24 wire published in The Citizen.

“The infected soldiers are from Cape Town who came to the province last week as part of a battalion deployed to monitor lockdown compliance,” Ramathuba said, adding her department reported the test results to the SA Military Health Service of the National Defence Force (SANDF).

Asked in June how many soldiers and other SANDF and Department of Defence (DoD) personnel have been tested for coronavirus as well as the number of positive tests and deaths, if any, the military Directorate: Corporate Communications (DCC) said health protocols were employed in treatment and management of COVID-19 cases.

No numbers were provided but when these are found or occur they are reported to the NDOH.

The SANDF screens all members of the military community as per protocol.  Health protocols determine the management of cases, if any. It does not indicate how many airmen, military medics, sailors, soldiers or other musterings, including Public Service Act personnel, have been screened. The only possible reference to testing is “management of cases”.

defenceWeb requested an update from the SANDF on two facilities evacuated and closed for decontamination after military staff tested positive for coronavirus last month. At the time of publishing no new update regarding SA Air Force (SAAF) headquarters and Petersen Bothgongo House, housing elements of the Logistics Division, both in Pretoria, had been received.