About 10,000 army members in 15 companies were deployed on the country’s borders this month to try to stop foreign nationals from bringing the dreaded coronavirus into the country.
Most of them are reserve force members called up since Pres. On April 21, Cyril Ramaphosa authorized the deployment of nearly the entire army, 73 180 members, at a cost of R4.5 billion.
The frontier deployment is known as Operation Corona. Before the Covid-19 crisis, 2,550 army members conducted routine patrols on the border, but they have now been supplemented to 10,000 by the standing and reserve forces.
“In addition to the reserve force members serving in Operation Corona, we are busy with the largest call of reserve force members since 1994,” says Maj. Gen. Roy Andersen, head of defense reserves.
Some of the reserve force members were called to Operation Notlela, which provides support for police and other law enforcement officers at, among other things, roadblocks.
“A considerable group of reserve members are used for water supply and water purification. These are the members who were responsible for clearing the Vaal River and therefore have training and experience with it, ”says Andersen.
The reserve force started calling nurses and nurses last month to work at clinics and field hospitals.
The last two weeks have started calling for doctors and medical ordinances. A large number of motor mechanics have also been called in the past month.
“Of course, it is very important to maintain vehicles, but it is also a chance to repair many broken vehicles and catch up with maintenance work backlogs.” The air force also called a limited number of pilots and aircraft technicians, “Andersen says.
A large number of cooks were also deployed, as well as reserve force members used in the military’s logistics chain.
“The logistics services assist with the provision of common stock needed for military deployment, but especially for the provision and personal protection equipment for members,” says Andersen.
Still stock what is needed, closes in fuel and kosrantsoene.
“We did away with the ration packages because there were problems with expiry dates.” Many of the reserve force members are used to stand guard at field hospitals that are still empty at this stage, as well as army buildings where the guards are used for other tasks.