In light of South Africa’s rising infection rate, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa extended the deployment of some 20,000 soldiers by the end of September as their services would still be needed in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa informed parliament on June 30 by letter of this decision.
Thandi Modise, speaker of the National Assembly, and Amos Masondo, chair of the National Council of Provinces, confirmed late Thursday night that they had received Ramaphosa’s letter to parliament on the extension of the deployment from June 27 to September 30, 2020.
Parliament’s presiding officers further stated in their statement that in the extended deployment the soldiers would continue to work with the police to maintain law and order, to support other government departments and to guard the country’s borders to spread the coronavirus in all nine provinces.
In his correspondence to the speaker and chairman, Ramaphosa says that the cases of the viral disease continue to increase nationwide and that the services of the soldiers are still needed to fight its spread.
As long as the pandemic is not under control, the military will also work with the national health department to manage it with, among other things, the provision of field hospitals, medical screening processes and quarantine facilities.
The military will also work with the Department of Collaborative Government and Traditional Affairs to maintain or improve the living conditions of citizens by assisting with the provision of water and engineering services.
In addition, the military will assist the police in enforcing state-of-the-art regulations and better protect national borders and border posts.
According to Modise and Masondo, Ramaphosa said in his letter that the extension of the deployment would cost about R1.5 billion.
Ramaphosa asked presidents to bring the contents of his letter to the attention of MPs from both houses in parliament.
He initially authorized about 2,820 soldiers on March 25 this year to help police enforce the restrictions.
However, the number of deployed soldiers was increased to 76,000 on April 21.