Not first time SANDF deployed at Sona, says Parly Secretary

Secretary to Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana says the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers for the State of the Nation Address (Sona) is no cause for concern.

According to Mgidlana, President Jacob Zuma has in he past asked for military reinforcement at Parliament's Sona.

This is something that is usually done during this time. We had it done in 2013 when the President authorized the deployment of about 168 SANDF members and in 2015 188 members were deployed.

Gengezi Mgidlana, Secretary to Parliament

Mgidlana says the defence force will be on standby to support the work of the South African Police Service (Saps).

He says Saps will only call on the psychical presence of SANDF if 'extenuating and extreme circumstances' occur.

Other than ceremonial military officers at Parliament, soldiers will only arrive at the request of Saps officials, advises Mgidlana.

He says the deployment is a cautionary measure and there is no need to be alarmed.

According to Mgidlana, the declaratory order was tabled before Parliament, despite opposition parties expressing shock and surprise.

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