A viral social media video clip showing a taxi driver harassing a member of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on patrol duty in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, has sparked a warning for the public from the SANDF.
“The public is urged to refrain from committing acts of provocation or incitement against members of the SANDF,” the statement reads, adding, it is an illegal and prosecutable offence to interfere with any law enforcement official on duty regardless of the circumstances. The soldier was commended for maintaining his discipline under provocation, the SANDF said..
The SANDF is also concerned by social media comments commending this act of provocation, asking the public to “condemn with contempt” citizens who disrespect law enforcement.
The SANDF patrolling the streets is part of Operation Prosper, to support police efforts to halt arson, looting and general civil unrest in South Africa. The deployment, which started at 2 500 military personnel, spiralled upward on a request from SANDF Commander-in-Chief, President Cyril Ramaphosa, with opposition parties also wanting more soldiers on the ground. A final number of 25 000 was agreed to. This includes all SA Army Reserve Force regiments and units.
The cost of the deployment has been put at around R615 million.