Ramaphosa to deploy 800 SANDF members to protect Eskom power stations

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 880 members of the SANDF to protect Eskom power stations across SA.
  • The members are not soldiers but rather work with SAPS in crime prevention.
  • The deployment is set for now until 17th October 2023.

At the weekend, President Cyril Ramaphosa sent out a statement confirming that 880 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed to protect Eskom power stations across the country targeted by those wishing to disrupt operations or vandalise property.

This deployment has already been happening in part, with it set from 17th April until 17th October 2023, although there is scope for it to be extended or widened. For now though, the SANDF plans to work with the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) to safeguard power stations that have come under the most threat in recent months.

“The President has informed Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Amos Masondo, in writing of the employment of SANDF personnel for service in cooperation with the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the prevention and combating of crime and maintenance and preservation of law and order in the Republic of South Africa under Operation Prosper,” a statement from the Presidency explained.

“Members of the SANDF employed will assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in protecting Eskom power stations around the country where sabotage, theft and other crimes may threaten the functioning of power stations and the supply of electricity,” it continued.

While it remains to be seen how this deployment will go, recent fatal incidents involving the SANDF and policing South African citizens, such as Collins Khoza, do not fill us with much confidence.

There is also the cost to consider too, with the Presidency noting that the deployment will cost R146 718 427. “The current employment is authorised in accordance with the provisions of Section 201(2) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996,” the statement added.

Precisely who is fitting the bill for this has not been detailed.

[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 GovernmentZA on Flickr]


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