The president of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent a letter to the country’s Parliament informing it that he is increasing the current number of soldiers monitoring and enforcing the COVID-19 lockdown from 2,000 to more than 70,000.
The letter sent to the Joint Standing Committee on defence in Parliament authorised the deployment of the entire South African National Defence Force (SANDF), in the auxiliary force and and the reserve force, totalling 73,180 members of patrol to South Africa’s streets.
The president also said in his letter that he had decided to employ additional members of the SANDF because the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to increase with reported cases across the Republic of South Africa.
The president has however authorised the employment of the additional members of the SANDF for the period April 2 to June 26 at a cost expected to total over 4.5 billion rand.
Darren Olivier, a director at African Defence Review and a defence expert, told local media that this amounts to about 10 percent of the annual expenditure of SANDF.
Cyril Xaba, co-chairperson of the joint standing committee on defence who confirmed the receipt of the letter said, “The joint Standing Committee on Defence will tomorrow (Wednesday) hold a virtual meeting to consider the letter from the President on the Employment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in terms Section 201 (4) of the Constitution regarding the reasons, place, number of soldiers as well as the period of employment in the fight against the spread of the Covid-19 virus. ”
The move was necessary as their are increase in disregarding social distancing and self-isolation measures by the citizens.