Following his deployment of the South African Police Service (SAPS) on their mission to monitor movement of civilians during the lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his call for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to exercise compassion in fulfilling their duty.
This comes on the eve an unprecedented nationwide lockdown and the announcement that South Africa currently has 927 confirmed coronavirus cases.
‘Most important mission in SA history’
Dressed in full military regalia, Ramaphosa called on the country’s men and women of action to fulfil their duty to the state and save lives.
“I am dressed in your uniform as your commander-in-chief to signify my support and solidarity with you as you embark on this most important mission in the history of our country.
“We will wage war against the invisible enemy, coronavirus. You are expected, as soldiers of the RSA, to defend our people against this virus. Your mission is to save lives.”
“A soldier swears they are going to do everything to do what’s right for the people of South Africa,” he said. “We must implement this very tough decision to lockdown South Africa and allow only minimal movement. The infection rate has now reached 927 and in a few days we could be at 1 500. Our task is to minimise this infection rate.
‘Strong, capable and able’
He bestowed upon the uniformed officers at Doornkop army base in the south of Johannesburg the task of monitoring social distancing initiatives while ensuring that South African citizens are assisted and reassured by the presence of their protectors.
“You are the restorers of life for our people. Make sure that we save lives, that cities are safe and after 21 days, this country will be in a state that we can bounce back, people can have their lives back, and our economy can bounce back,” he said.
Reiterating his call earlier on Thursday to SAPS members to act with kindness and compassion, Ramaphosa articulated his pride in the virtue of the SANDF.
“You are the people who will make that possible. This is a life-saving mission. Go out and save the lives of South Africans.
“You are strong, capable and able to undertake this mission. Execute it with great success.”