SANDF forces continue to arrive in KZN, following a week of violence

Soldiers and police officers in Durban earlier this week. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Soldiers and police officers in Durban earlier this week. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 17, 2021


South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members continued arriving in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday to assist the SA Police Service in bringing order to communities that were affected by unrest in the province.

A total of 25 000 SANDF members will be deployed across affected regions in Gauteng and KZN, President Cyril Ramaphosa had said.

Of the large deployment, 10 000 were already on the ground, Ramaphosa said during his address on Friday night.

This deployment follows days of violence in KZN and Gauteng, where looting and unrest spread, leaving buildings damaged and many businesses closed.

In Durban, military vehicles were seen on the streets as soldiers prepared to go into communities.

SANDF Major-General Patrick Dube said the army's mission was one of restoring law and order.

"Our mission here is very simple: we are to support the South Africa Police Services (SAPS) in restoring dignity and restoring order here. And we are also here to support the state and ensuring KZN returns to normality. That is our main aim.

"We have mobilised soldiers in their numbers, and we have also mobilised our mission equipment, and we are here to do our duty," Dube said.

He thanked community members who have approached the SANDF with information.

There were questions over the deployment of the SANDF and whether it was needed. Fears were largely driven by whether the army would harm citizens. However, the government continued to assure citizens that the deployment would see SANDF members working with SAPS.

Dube said, on the fears from communities, that SANDF members were there to protect citizens and not harm them.

"We are South Africans, and we are part of the community of South Africa, and they should not fear us at all. We are here to restore order.

"The SANDF is a people's defence force. We are not here against the people of SA. We are here against the criminal elements that are plundering, looting and destroying property. Those ones will feel the might of the SANDF," Dube said in Durban on Saturday.

"We have deployed in big numbers, and we will try by all means to cover all hotspots."

Political Bureau