The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has called on South Africans not to discriminate against those who test positive for coronavirus after 40 of its members deployed in Limpopo were infected. The affected soldiers are members of an Infantry Battalion from Cape Town, which arrived in Lephalale on 13 June.
The SANDF says all the necessary precautions were taken before their deployment.
The battalion was quarantined at their home unit in Cape Town before going to Limpopo, where they were again placed in quarantine at the Military Health Services Training Centre in Lephalale. However, when tested, a number of them were found to be positive and were isolated in a special facility inside the base.
The SANDF says like all other frontline workers, soldiers are more exposed to the virus than average citizens.
SANDF’s deployment extended
President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended the deployment of 20 000 soldiers to continue assisting in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19). This is significantly less than the 76 000 who’s deployment was authorized by the President in April.
The extended deployment of the 20 000 soldiers will cost taxpayers R1.5 billion.
President Ramaphosa disclosed this in a letter he sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise. He says the SANDF’s deployment will continue until the pandemic is under control.
The Eastern Cape province on Tuesday asked the national government to assist its overwhelmed health services with SANDF medical teams.