Military ready to help with Day Zero and Operation Fiela II, but not yet needed


The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) remains ready to assist in two major taskings – Operation Fiela II nationally and Day Zero in the drought-ravaged Western Cape, specifically Cape Town.

Planning for the Day Zero operation is ongoing and this week two briefings involving senior Cape Town metro council officials and representatives as well as senior police officers took place in the Democratic Alliance-governed province.

When – and if Day Zero – does come, indications are soldiers could be deployed as sentries/guards at water distribution points. There is also talk of military escorts for water tankers and a briefing in Cape Town earlier this week heard from a senior provincial police officer “up to 80 soldiers” could be deployed.

In addition to national police it appears Cape Town metropolitan police and other municipal security services are handling the water issue in what is reported as the first major city in the world to face the possibility of running dry.

There has been no official comment from the SANDF on its involvement in the Day Zero undertaking with reliable sources indicating the country’s military management is aware of the issue and ready to assist – if needed.

Similarly, soldiers have not yet been called on to provide support to police executing taskings as part of Operation Fiela II, the national anti-crime campaign launched at the start of the year by then Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

SA Police Services in Eastern Cape said in a statement it conducted a crime prevention tasking recently as “part of an approach in line with the vision and mission of Operation Fiela II”.

The tasking centred on three dilapidated buildings in the Central and Richmond Hill parts of Port Elizabeth. The buildings are used by criminals as places to hide from law enforcement agencies and are also viewed as “generators of crime”.

Captain Sandra Jansen van Rensburg said four wanted suspects were arrested on charges of theft, rape, shoplifting and possession of suspected stolen property. More than 160 syringes, three mobile phones, a laptop and a tablet were confiscated during the raid on the derelict buildings which also found 15 undocumented foreigners.

Since the national operation was launched police have issued statements on three separate Operation Fiela actions – with the Eastern Cape raid the latest and other actions having taken place in Northern Cape and North West.

A stated aim of Operation Fiela II is to “root out criminals and shut down crime hotspots”. It will be reviewed in January 2019.