Zuma deploys SANDF to maintain ‘law & order’ at Sona

441 members of the SANDF will be employed together with SAPS for the period between 05 February to 10 February 2017.

President Jacob Zuma and his Deputy Cyril Ramaphosa look up at jets flying over Parliament to mark the opening of the event. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has deployed South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers to work hand in hand with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order during the Opening of Parliament where the President will deliver the State of the Nation Address (Sona) 2017.

Four hundred and forty-one members of the SANDF will be employed together with SAPS for the period between 05 February to 10 February 2017.

The president will deliver the Sona on Thursday night which will set the tone for government’s program for the year ahead.

Security for this year's Sona will be tighter than ever, with extended road closures and a beefed-up police presence to deal with any protest marches.

The secretary to Parliament said preparations are on track for the event, which will cost an estimated R4 million.

Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana gave an assurance that cellphone signals won’t be jammed and that journalists will have freedom of movement.

Security for the event is a joint operation involving Parliament, the police, the State Security Agency and other departments, as well as the City of Cape Town and the provincial government.

“The planning that needs to happen is to make sure that we have a very good event at Parliament. So from a planning perspective, it’s all systems go,” said Mgidlana.

But he could not confirm speculation that 6,000 extra police will be in Cape Town to deal with any protests.