Over two thousand soldiers will be on South African streets until the end of February helping police and assisting in the ongoing national effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
This is confirmed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, also Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), in a letter dated 3 February. It follows a similar “instruction” from the first citizen’s office, received on 8 January by Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD), authorising “employment” of 2 122 soldiers – the same number Ramaphosa has again put on the active roster in OOTW (operations other than war). That earlier “employment” ended on 31 January.
The latest Presidential missive has soldiers in action internally for the February calendar month.
The letter reads, in part: “Two thousand, one hundred and twenty-two members of the SANDF were employed to support other government departments to preserve life, health or property in emergency or humanitarian operations and in co-operation with the SAPS in prevention of crime and maintenance and preservation of the (sic) law and order in the Republic of South Africa under adjusted level 3 regulations”.
The cost of the “employment” will be, according to the President, R64 767 486. The January “employment” cost R95 666 944.
Operation Notlela, the official national defence force contribution to the national state of disaster, ended on 30 September when all units and regiments deployed were ordered RTB (return to base). The subsequent “employment” of the military – both regulars and Reserve Force – was and is done without an “official” operation name.