Operation Fiela: Was deployment of SANDF legal?

The Right2Know Campaign has called on Zuma to explain the army’s deployment to xenophobic hotspots.

Police search the area of flats controlled by the Mongrels gang in Ottery for guns and drugs on 22 May 2015. Picture: Thomas Holders/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Right2Know Campaign has called on President Jacob Zuma to explain whether the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as part of Operation Fiela is legal.

In April this year, the president authorised the deployment of about 338 soldiers to certain hotspots following an outbreak of xenophobic violence.

They have been assisting police officers with Operation Fiela.

Right2Know's Murray Hunter said, "Firstly, the fact that it hasn't been done transparently and it's not even clear if it's been done lawfully is very concerning, but secondly, there needs to be a broader debate about whether or not Operation Fiela is actually something that is in the public's interest."

He said government is extending the operation's reach.

"We were told that this is a necessary response to xenophobic attacks, but now we see that it's spreading all over the country. The way that it's doing that is potentially violating constitutional rights."

WATCH: Why did government deploy troops to xenophobic hotspots?

Earlier this week it was revealed soldiers could be deployed domestically to assist police with their anti-crime operation s until March next year.

The Defence Ministry confirmed it received a request from the South African Police Service (SAPS) in this regard.