CAPE TOWN – More than 70,000 soldiers are preparing for deployment to help manage the lockdown and all soldiers are now on standby until the end of June.
Parliament heard that the bolstered deployment is necessary because of the expected magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic.
The defence minister said some 2,000 soldiers deployed at the start of the lockdown, are now exhausted.
Two have also died in the execution of their duties.
The military ombud says he’s received 33 complaints related to the conduct of soldiers during the lockdown but he adds, it hasn’t all been bad.
“We have received three letters from the public who are commending the actions of the SANDF during the lockdown period,” said Vusi Masondo.
“The reality is the majority of SANDF are doing a good job on the ground, and the public are acknowledging that.”
The defence minister says several incidents of alleged abuse of human rights and heavy-handedness posted on social media are false and did not occur during the lockdown.
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula said some members of the public are intent on provoking soldiers.
“There are people who don’t want to see the deployment of the SANDF,” she said.
MPs say they are satisfied cases of heavy-handedness are isolated, and that overall, soldiers have been doing a good job during the lockdown.
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