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Deployed SANDF will support DOH to manage COVID-19

The entire South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been put on standby, says a Polity report. The deployment of more than 73,000 SANDF members will include medical personnel and it might include field hospitals, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said when she addressed the Joint Standing Committee on Defence about the deployment.

The SANDF has the following tasks:

  • Support the police in the enforcement of lockdown regulations.
  • Support and work with the national Department of Health with the management of COVID-19.
  • Support the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to maintain or enhance living conditions of the population.
  • Enhance border safeguarding.

The more specific tasks members will be involved in include:

  • Joint roadblocks/vehicle control points.
  • Joint mobile and foot patrols – joint cordon and search operations.
  • Medical screening.
  • Essential service delivery, water supply.
  • Border safeguarding.
  • Additional border patrols involving the army, air force and navy.
  • SA Military Health Services (SAMHS) support.

Furthermore, the SAMHS will provide medical support to the military community (members and their dependents), provide personal protective equipment to deployed members and those involved in patient care, conduct screening and testing. It will prepare military hospitals with dedicated wards and beds for isolation and quarantine as well as deploying field hospitals and supporting the Health Department.

When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the lockdown, he deployed 2,820 SANDF members. Mapisa-Nqakula said the entire SANDF was put on standby as the "magnitude of the challenge" of the COVID-19 pandemic became known and exhaustion set in among the original deployment. The committee welcomed the deployment.

[link url=""]Full Polity report[/link]

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