The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) via its Director: Corporate Communication has denied it is standing by to assist with evicting people illegally occupying RDP houses in Marikana.
The response comes in the wake of reports that both the North West provincial government and the Department of Human Settlements, headed by former Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, had asked for the military to be placed on standby ahead of planned evictions at Marikana Extension two, one of the areas where the now notorious Marikana Massacre took place in August 2012.
This follows a call by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Makashule Gana for the military not to be involved.
“Using the military to resolve a human settlements matter will do more harm than good in Marikana, given the history of the area,” Gana said, adding soldiers should be deployed internally in “exceptional circumstances and as an auxiliary to the police”.
“It is our belief the court order obtained by the provincial department can be enforced without involving the army. We don’t want to see more bloodshed in Marikana. Trained public order police should be sourced to calm the situation in Marikana and help with the peaceful and incident free evictions.”
Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga today told defenceWeb he had no knowledge of any request for troops to be deployed to Marikana.
The last time soldiers were deployed internally was during Operation Fiela, the anti-xenophobia initiative launched by government in in the first quarter of 2015. The operation was later extended to an overall anti-crime one and soldiers were withdrawn from the tasking in September last year. There was widespread opposition to the use of the military, with political parties and trade unions, including the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) speaking out against the deployment.