Defence minister cautions military against excessive force on citizens

A SANDF officer checks the permits of an essential worker
A SANDF officer checks the permits of an essential worker
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Minister of defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has cautioned members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) against their heavy-handedness during the lockdown.

A lot of videos, as well as complaints, have emerged that the military and members of the SA Police Service have been using excessive force and violence against South Africans.

They were accused of hitting people, making them do push-ups and frog jumps, among others.

Mapisa-Nqakula said that they should refrain from using any kind of force - even if they are provoked.

“The minister wishes to strongly reiterate the message delivered by the commander-in-chief of the SANDF to the deployed soldiers to desist from using excessive force against citizens of the country, regardless of the level of provocation they may face whilst deployed,” department of defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement.

“The minister has since instructed the chief of defence to monitor the situation on the ground and deal with those members who are proven to have used excessive or unnecessary force against citizens.”

In deploying the military last week Thursday, their commander-in-chief President Cyril Ramaphosa urged them to not “skop and donder” citizens.

He said that they should be so nice that South Africans should even want to give them flowers.

“This is not a moment for skop and donner.  This is a moment to be supportive to our people. When they see you patrol with your guns, they will be fearful but make sure that when they see you they see kindness of the state of South Africa. They should even get to a point where they may want to give you roses,” Ramaphosa said.

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