No threats warrant SANDF at Sona, says security expert

President Jacob Zuma's decision to deploy the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers to Parliament for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) is unnecessary, says the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

The institute's governance head Gareth Newham advises that the South African Police Service (Saps) are more than equipped to deal with internal public order issues at Parliament.

He explains that only exceptional circumstances warrant the President to deploy the military to deal with a domestic threat.

Newham says he and the ISS know of no such threat which requires 441 soldiers to maintain 'law and order'.

There are no threats that would warrant this deployment that we are aware of or can imagine.

Gareth Newham, Head of the Governance and Justice at the Institute for Security Studies

The presence of SANDF at Parliament is dangerous for democracy and the President's failure to justify the need for military forces raises further concerns, advises Newham.

It raises a lot of question about what the basis of decision is but we don't know because the President hasn't shared that information with us.

Gareth Newham, Head of the Governance and Justice at the Institute for Security Studies

He explains the ceremonial role of military versus their new security function at Sona.

Take a listen:


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