Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has condemned alleged brutality by some South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members who have been deployed to support police to manage the nationwide lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
In some cases, social media posts are showing SANDF members forcing members of the public to perform physical exercises, in others beating them up and confiscating their groceries.
Mapisa-Nqakula says such conduct can not be condoned, “We do not condone what I have heard just now. I have been on radio the whole morning, I’ve been talking on many radio stations to make a plea to our security services to refrain from using excessive force against our people. They are out in the street to protect South Africans, they are not in the street to abuse South Africans.”
going home to shower after SANDF does this to you>>> https://t.co/T3eu7gcn32
— JAN SOLO (@_eunosolo) March 30, 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa, on the eve of the lockdown, said members of the SANDF need not instil a sense of fear in people, but should provide confidence and hope.
He said, “As it is now when we start these 21 days, many of our people are fearful, they are doubtful, they are concerned about the virus, their livelihoods, the loneliness that this is going to impose on them as we confine them to their homes. They will be looking up to you to give them confidence that everything will be alright.
Ramaphosa told members of the SANDF that this was a life-saving and life restoration mission.
“This is not a moment for skop and donner, this is not a moment for skiet and donner. This is a moment to be supportive to our people. I, therefore, order you to go out and execute this mission with great success. Thank you very much.”