SANDF troops to play support function at Sona, says acting top cop

The South African Policing Union (Sapu) is the latest group to question the need to deploy 441 soldiers to help police at the 2017 State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Acting police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane says the South African Police Service (Saps) operate hand-in-hand with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in a security cluster on crime-prevention.

In events of this magnitude we deploy resources from various government department to ensure a successful event.

Kgomotso Phahlane, Acting police commissioner

He says the 441 SANDF soldiers play a support role and are not at the fore-front of operations.

The deployment of people tomorrow to secure Sona is led by Saps. There is nothing unusual.

Kgomotso Phahlane, Acting police commissioner

Phahlane maintains that SANDF have always been a part of the opening of Parliament and that there is nothing new, despite an increase in the number of troops and a mandate 'to maintain law and order'.

The SANDF has always played a part and will continue to do so. There is no need to create alarming sensation.

Kgomotso Phahlane, Acting police commissioner

The lieutenant general explains that SANDF members will not take on roles of Saps officials, such as crowd-control.

Take a listen to Phahlane's explanation:

Meanwhile, the Right to Know (R2K) campaign says security arrangements at Parliament become more heavy-handed with each year that passes.

R2K spokesperson Murray Hunter citizens have come to normalise increased security such as signal jamming, barbed-wire and water cannons.

Hunter explains that the Presidency and defence force have not followed the correct and transparent procedure for informing the public about increased military presence.

Take a listen:

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