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Attention: Soldiers taking up positions but ‘not yet’ deployed

The army will be deployed by the commander in chief President Cyril Ramaphosa in line with the State of Disaster Act.

FILE: Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the army had not yet been deployed but soldiers were starting to take up their positions.

However, she said the South African Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed on Thursday to support the police in enforcing the lockdown by guarding borders and provide health services.

WATCH: COVID-19 situation desk - 26 March 2020 AM

Mapisa-Nqakula said it was the duty of the SANDF to protect the country.

“It’s territorial integrity and it's people in order to preserve life, health, and properties in emergency and humanitarian relief operations.”

So, the army will be deployed by the commander in chief President Cyril Ramaphosa in line with the State of Disaster Act.

“In roadblocks, in foot patrols throughout the country to enforce the curfew... At borders, the SANDF will ensure that there are no unauthorised entries during this lockdown under the direction of the minister of health and to provide health services to the public through its health practitioners.”

Mapisa-Nqakula said this would happen when the lockdown begins and reports that the army has already been deployed are misguided.

“There hasn’t been deployment what you have seen is movement of soldiers from point A to B to assembly points there is no deployment whatsoever.”

Ramaphosa is expected to address troops in Gauteng at 4.30 pm on Thursday.

Mapisa-Nqakula said SANDF members would be forced to take extraordinary measures against South Africans who failed to adhere to the regulations of the lockdown.

Speaking on 702 on Thursday morning, Mampisa-Nqakula urged south Africans to stay at home and avoid breaking the law.

“…Of course, if people are not complying, they may be forced to take extraordinary measures.”

She said SANDF members had familiarised themselves with the regulations of the national lockdown.

“Within the SANDF, there are scans which we have secured to check temperatures and those who are going to be deployed on a daily basis will be checked. They will wash hands like everybody and if they don’t feel well, they should disclose it,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

The minister said the army knew exactly how to handle the public to ensure compliance.

“They are adequately prepared and there will certainly be no application of force, ” she said.

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