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Army general says there is no intel of a possibility of riots breaking out during elections, deployment is a contingency

The Chief of Joint Operations of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Lieutenant General Lucky Sangweni has said that in light of the July civil unrest, there was no intelligence (intel) that a similar eventuality would unfold during the local government elections on 1 November 2021 and that the army was deployed as a contingency.

Sangweni was on Friday briefing the Parliamentary joint standing committee on defence on the deployment of more than 10 000 soldiers for a maximum of five days to provide support to the South African Police Service (SAPS) during elections on Monday.

The army will be deployed two days before voting day on 1 November 2021 and their deployment will last a further two days thereafter throughout the country for R47 249 000.

Sangweni said the soldiers are expected to be in the “background” providing support to the police, adding that the army had hoped that their deployment during the elections would not have been necessary.

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Sangweni said though there is no information that unrest similar to what was witnessed in July in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng would break out and, or criminality would be witnessed on Monday, it was better to be prepared.

The committee welcomed the army’s deployment and urged that the soldiers should exercise restraint once they have been deployed.

The army will:

  • Protect national key points and critical infrastructure;
  • Be on standby to react should the need arise;
  • Provide air transport support during the local government elections, and
  • Provide members to be trained as electoral officials and be on standby for utilisation as a contingency

The army will also protect the Independent Electoral Commission’s voting material storage warehouse.

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