One of Parliament’s two defence oversight committees, while approving the “employment” of soldiers to assist in keeping the peace during local government elections, called for “prudent spending” of the R47 249 000 allocated for the tasking.
Cyril Xaba, co-chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD), said the allocated funding for the election tasking due to end on Wednesday (3 November), is “budgeted for within the baseline of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)”.
“Efficient planning is critical in ensuring prudent spending of taxpayers’ monies. We appreciate clear planning was done in this instance and will ensure money is not diverted from other Department of Defence (DoD) programmes,” co-chair Elleck Nchabeleng said in support of Xaba.
Ahead of Monday’s countrywide elections for municipal councillors, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised “employment” of 10 000 soldiers and other SANDF personnel until Wednesday. The military, along with police and other security agencies, including metro police and local authority law enforcement, were assured by Police Minister Bheki Cele South Africans would have a free and fair environment in which to vote.
The primary SANDF tasking was given as protection of national key points. Soldiers would be on standby to assist police in case of trouble and air assets from the SA Air Force (SAAF) would, if needed, fly election materials to inaccessible voting stations.