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As more soldiers to be deployed, Mapisa-Nqakula addresses heavy handedness

On Wednesday, the minister’s briefed Parliament’s joint defence committee on the deployment of 73,180 SANDF members in addition to the initial 2,820 to support the country’s fight against COVID-19.

SAPS members and SANDF soldiers deploy in the Mitchells Plain area in Cape Town to enforce the Disaster Management Act and to ensure the adherence of the lockdown regulations on 20 April 2020. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG/ CAPE TOWN – Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has told parliamentarians the killing of a civilian allegedly by an SANDF member was “unfortunate”.

On Wednesday, the minister’s briefed Parliament’s joint defence committee on the deployment of 73,180 SANDF members in addition to the initial 2,820 to support the country’s fight against COVID-19.

She’s also addressed allegations of heavy handedness and abuse by SANDF members during the lockdown.

The minister said investigations into the murder of Collins Khosa in Alexandra and probes into other allegations against soldiers were ongoing.

She said disciplinary action would be taken against any member found to have contravened the law.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the murder case was now before the courts.

“Of course, we’re concerned that a human being has died [allegedly] at the hands of the soldiers. But the matter is now in the Constitutional Court.”

The minister also noted how most South Africans are observing the lockdown regulations.

“The majority of the population, as we have noted it, is observing the lockdown conditions and some members have been disobeying the conditions.”

WATCH: We are investigating, Mapisa-Nqakula on Alex man's death

SOLDIERS ARE WELL TRAINED

Mapisa-Ngqakula has given reassurance that the additional soldiers who will be deployed have been adequately trained in several fields, including the medical field.

She said the soldiers that would be deployed were highly competent to assist in multiple spheres in fighting covid-19.

“You have the navy, you have the army and the air force. Then you have the military health service.”

Meanwhile, chairman of Parliament's join committee on defence Cyril Xaba said they still needed to see a detailed plan on the role of these SANDF members.

“We’ve actually invited the minister and the SANDF to come and talk to us on the issues outlined.”

Mapisa-Ngqakula said this move may seem drastic but it was necessary to ensure the country was ready to deal with an imminent wave of new infections and deaths.