SANDF deploying ahead of national shutdown


Elements of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are being deployed in support of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other state departments in anticipation of the national shutdown protest scheduled for Monday 20 March.

The SANDF on Friday said that the Chief of the SANDF, General Rudzani Maphwanya, has been tasked and authorised to deploy various military elements to support security services ahead of the Economic Freedom Fighters-led national shutdown.

“The SANDF elements will be deployed under ‘Operation Prosper’ as from 17 March 2023 to 17 April 2023 and will be controlled through the Provincial Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (PROVJOINTS) with direction and guidance by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) accordingly pending the re-assessment of the situation,” stated Brigadier General Andries Mokoena Mahapa, Director: Defence Corporate Communication.

The primary focus of the SANDF deployment will be to protect National Key Points and respond to situations which go beyond the control of law enforcement agencies, in support to the police.

“It must be noted that the SANDF gets requested from time to time to assist the SAPS in crime prevention operations. This is executed in line with one of the government outcomes of making sure that all South Africans are and feel safe,” the SANDF said.

Defence Minister Thandi Modise on Thursday said, “we are on standby. If there is a weakness in the security cluster, it is that we have allowed people to use social media to plan and intimidate, and we have not followed up. We want to assure you this time we will not let it go.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele said during a media briefing this week that, “we want to assure everyone in the country that the 20th of March will be a normal business day. We want to reiterate to our international community that contrary to the pronouncements by those advocating for any disruption, all ports of entry – land, sea and air – will be operational.

“Measures have been put in place to ensure that everyone who wants to go to work, travel for leisure and conduct business on this day does so in a safe and secure environment,” Cele said.

“Anyone who intimidates, stops anyone from going to work, barricades the roads and highways and uses any form of violence to try and stop our people from going on with their lives will face the full might of the law.”