Parliament, Friday 3 July 2020 – The Presiding Officers of Parliament, National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo, have received correspondence from President Cyril Ramaphosa, dated 30 June, regarding his decision to extend employment of 20 000 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for service from 27 June to 30 September 2020.

Their service is in co-operation with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order, to support other State Departments and to control South Africa’s border line to combat spread of COVID-19 in all nine provinces.

In his correspondence to the Speaker and the Chairperson, President Ramaphosa says the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to increase across the country and that the services of these SANDF members is still required to combat the spread of the pandemic. The SANDF is fulfilling the following mandate, set to continue for as long as the pandemic is not under control: to support and work with the National Department of Health in managing COVID-19 (provision of field hospitals, medical screening, quarantine facilities); to support COGTA (Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) in efforts to maintain or enhance living conditions of the population (such as, water supply; engineering services); to support the SAPS in enforcement of lockdown conditions; and to enhance border safeguarding (additional border patrols and SA Military Health Service support to Port Health).

The President states that his decision to extend employment of the 20 000 SANDF members from 27 June to 30 September is in terms of Section 201(2)(a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 read with Sections 18(1) and 19 of the Defence Act of 2002 (Act 42 of 2002).

Expenditure expected to be incurred for this extension is R1.5 billion.

The President has asked the Speaker and the Chairperson to bring the contents of the report to the attention of their respective Houses.

On 25 March 2020, the President authorised employment of 2 820 SANDF members and this number was increased on 21 April 2020 to 76 000.

The President's letter will be published in the papers of Parliament (Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports) for the attention of Members of both Houses. It will also be referred to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Defence.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930