R615m — the cost to deploy soldiers to quell looting and unrest
President Cyril Ramaphosa had authorised the deployment of 25,000 members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to combat rampant looting and unrest, at a cost of R615m, parliament said on Friday.
The authorisation comes days after Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were hit by public violence and the looting of hundreds of stores.
The deployment comes at a cost of R615,665,500 and is effective from July 12 to Aug. 12, according to parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.
“The presiding officers of the parliament, led by speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo, have received correspondence from President Cyril Ramaphosa on the authorisation of 25,000 members of the SA National Defence Force for service in co-operation with the SA Police Service in the prevention and combating of crime and preservation of law and order within the country.
“This is done in terms of Section 201(2) (a) of the constitution of SA of 1996 and Section 18 (1) of the Defence Act of 2002,” he said.
Moloto said the president's letter would now be submitted for the attention of MPs.
The president had initially authorised the deployment of 2,500 soldiers. Major political parties including the ANC, DA, IFP and UDM later called on Ramaphosa to deploy more soldiers to contain the unrest and looting.
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said earlier the deployment had already borne fruit as the situation in both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had improved.
“The situation in the two provinces is gradually but firmly returning to normality. Overnight to the last three hours, no new incidents were reported in Gauteng.”
Ntshavheni said the officers were deployed alongside SAPS and metro police officers in “potential hotspots” across the country, including provinces where no incidents were reported. This was to avoid a situation in which instigators took advantage of those provinces, she said.