PRETORIA - The army has been deployed across the country to support government departments in their fight against the spread of COVID-19.
The soldiers will be joining their police counterparts on the frontline to enforce the lockdown which kicks in on Thursday evening.
It’s not unusual for the National Defence Force to support the police in maintaining law and order.
Recently, soldiers were deployed to parts of Cape Town to help authorities tackle gang crime and now they have been assigned to help fight an invisible enemy.
The SANDF has ordered companies from infantry battalions around the country to be deployed to each province but two companies will be deployed to Gauteng, one in Johannesburg and another in Tshwane.
A company comprises about 140 soldiers, which includes the headquarters and three platoons of 35 soldiers.
The rules of engagement are clear, the principle of minimum force must always be applied, and if an arrest is made, the suspect must be handed over to the police.
The soldiers are expected to join the police on patrols and at roadblocks.
The deployment order states that the operation will last three weeks but it could be extended by up to three months.
Considering parts of China have lifted their lockdown about two months after they were imposed, South Africans could be confined to their homes for longer than initially planned.