SANDF ‘scoffs’ at rumours Op Prosper soldiers withdrawn; conducts show of force


The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has dismissed with contempt and “scoffs at the baseless insinuations aimed at causing panic” that soldiers have allegedly been withdrawn from Operation Prosper duties.

In a statement, the SANDF said it was “highly concerned by ill-intended social media comments about the alleged withdrawal of soldiers from Operation Prosper,” and reminded perpetrators “that it is an illegal and a prosecutable offence to spread fake news or misinformation.”

The SANDF acknowledged that there were challenges regarding ration packs and payment of meal allowances to some of the 10 000 members deployed to help quell unrest. “These challenges received the necessary attention. As a measure to address developing challenges, there are processes in place to prioritise and address challenges as and when they prevail. This is an ongoing process for the duration of the operation. It is outright disingenuous to suggest or to insinuate that soldiers are starving and are considering withdrawing from the operation,” the SANDF said in response to rumours.

To reinforce the fact that the military is indeed out in force, elements of Operation Prosper, primarily comprising Ratel infantry combat vehicles, conducted a show of force exercise from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on 22 August.

“The aim of the convoy was to display dominance and show of force in the area of responsibility and to assure the population of KwaZulu-Natal that the military is still very present ready, prepared to preserve life and protect property as mandated,” the SANDF said.

Law enforcement agencies were on high alert on Monday amid rumours of a ‘National Shutdown’ protest, but no unrest had been reported by midday.

National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJOINTS) spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda said that law enforcement agencies have, through the NatJOINTS, put measures in place to ensure the safety and security of citizens.

“The NatJOINTS is aware of inflammatory messages on various social media platforms advocating for violence. Those behind these messages are warned that inciting violence is a criminal offence. Members of the public are cautioned against spreading such divisive messages,” NatJOINTS said in a statement.