In legal letter to Ramaphosa, EFF wants an explanation on SANDF's deployment

President Cyril Ramaphosa is asked to give clarity on the legal basis used to deploy the SANDF, the powers which the army will have once its boots hit the ground, and to provide a copy of the agreement the army signed with the police.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema. Picture: @EFFSouthAfrica/Twitter.

PRETORIA/JOHANNESBURG - Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on Monday night, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has written to the Presidency questioning the deployment of the army back on the streets.

The party has fired off a legal letter through its attorneys, giving Ramaphosa until the end of business on Tuesday to provide more details behind the decision.

On Monday, the president announced that he had authorised the deployment of 2,500 defence force personnel in support of the police service.

Members of the SAPS have been battling to contain the riots and looting, which swept across parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

These started following the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma last week and quickly morphed into something bigger.

EFF leader Julius Malema insists that a political solution should be sought and has even threatened to pit his own party members against the SANDF.

Malema can't seem to make up his mind on where he stands on the looting and other criminal events currently unfolding.

After what many have described as a reckless and irresponsible move of threatening to sacrifice his supporters in a toe-to-toe battle with the country’s defence force, he’s now turning to the courts.

In a letter by the party’s attorneys, President Ramaphosa is asked to give clarity on the legal basis used to deploy the SANDF, the powers which the army will have once its boots hit the ground, and to provide a copy of the agreement the army signed with the police.

The EFF is also quick to remind the president of last year’s traumas where the country’s army was responsible for human right violations when it was on a mercy mission.

It also threatened more legal action if the president doesn’t respond by end of business on Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Monday night message to the nation, in reaction to the unrest mainly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal has received a lukewarm response from political parties.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen expressed disappointment, saying he was looking forward to being on the president’s side, but his speech was uninspiring with no clear plan.

“Very little in his address offered anything new or significant in terms of measures to curb the violence, looting and destruction of property. There were no details, for example, of the SANDF deployment, such as numbers of troops and where they are to be deployed, as well as no details on any progress from Crime Intelligence,” the DA said in a statement.

On Monday, the EFF rejected the deployment of the SANDF. In a statement, the firebrand party said a government that unleashed the army on its people was sign of failure on its part.

“A government that deploys the army against its own people has essentially conceded that it is no longer a government of the people,” the statement read.

President Ramaphosa said he would convene a meeting with political parties to find a way to return calm in communities devastated by looting and destruction of property.

But the president has so far attracted criticism on the handling on the mayhem that’s been plaguing parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Another ANC break-away party Congress of the People has welcomed the deployment of the SANDF and called for intensified intervention from law enforcement to quell tensions and the looting that’s been raging in the two provinces.

While the president survived direct criticism from the Inkatha Freedom Party, his security cluster ministers were scrutinised. The IFP said the ministers of defence, state security and police had been mum since the start of the unrest that’s put South Africa in global headlines.

The security cluster ministers have however briefed the media on Tuesday morning to outline the president’s plan to contain the prevailing tense situation.

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