Members of the SANDF in Sea Point on July 24 2020 in Cape Town Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ROGER SEDRES
Members of the SANDF in Sea Point on July 24 2020 in Cape Town Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ROGER SEDRES

Both the national and Western Cape governments are seeking the assistance of the SA Defence Force (SANDF) in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police minister Bheki Cele said at a media briefing on Tuesday on the new lockdown regulations under level 3 that discussions are under way for the SANDF to assist with enforcement.

Enhanced enforcement will be required because of the 9pm-6am curfew; the ban on the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol; the prohibition on social gatherings; the prohibition on entering public parks, as well as beaches in hotspot provinces; the closure of night clubs, bars, shebeens and taverns; and the legal requirement to wear a mask in public places.

Cele said he had spoken to defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula about the use of the military where the police needed extra assistance. “So that is on the cards as we speak,” he said.

Violence against citizens by soldiers during the start of the lockdown was very controversial and widely condemned.

Head of the Western Cape health department Keith Cloete said at premier Alan Winde’s weekly digicon to provide an update on the province’s response to the pandemic that a request had been made for defence force assistance in terms of healthcare staff, hospital and transport capacity, as well as additional capacity for law enforcement.

A formal request has been submitted through the provincial joint operational and intelligence structure and will be served through the national structure later in the day, with a response expected either on Tuesday or Wednesday. “We expect a good response,” he said.

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