‘Nothing wrong with Ramaphosa wearing SANDF uniform’ - Defence Minister
Johannesburg - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Maphisa-Nqakula has clarified criticism of President Cyril Ramaphosa wearing the uniform of the South African National Defence Force on Thursday.
While addressing the army ahead of deployment to the streets in a bid to combat the coronavirus and keep South Africans off the streets, Ramaphosa was seen wearing the SANDF uniform.
He became the first president in the history of the country to wear the SANDF uniform.
Some on Twitter had earlier criticized the president for doing so, while others backed the president for wearing the uniform.
📌Cyril Ramaphosa— Great Zulu👑 (@SuperiorZulu) March 26, 2020
The first President in history to meet SANDF Generals and Soldiers wearing SANDF Uniform
A president does not wear the SANDF Uniform because is a civilian and civilians cannot wear military uniform
Anyone who violates this law can be jailed for up to 5 years pic.twitter.com/4yvZzUnc5O
This debate over whether or not Ramaphosa can wear the SANDF uniform is ridiculous. He’s literally the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces ffs.— STAY AT HOME (@naledimashishi) March 27, 2020
In wearing the uniform, Ramaphosa said: “I am dressed in your uniform as your Commander-In-Chief to signify my total support as you begin this most important mission in the history of our country. It is unprecedented in our history to have a 21-day lockdown. Go out and wage the war against an invisible enemy, the coronavirus”.
Maphisa-Nqakula said the president wore the uniform to identify with the army. She also clarified that the president had not worn a uniform with ranks on it and thus, the president had not submitted himself to General Solly Shoke by wearing the uniform.
“The uniform the president was wearing is that of SANDF, if he was wearing an uMkhonto weSizwe uniform, it would have been completely out of order and he too would not have addressed the soldiers.
“Once you wear the uniform, you submit yourself to the command of the chief of the SANDF. The uniform worn by the president had no rank. The uniform he wore was a camouflage.
“You wear it when you know you are ready to work. There is nothing wrong with what happened last night. He is the chief of the SANDF.
“If on that uniform there was a rank reflected, then it would have meant the CIC is being submitted to the command of General Shoke, which is nothing like that,” she said.