By Ebi Kesiena
President Cyril Ramaphosa has deployed 3,300 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members for six months to assist police in combating illegal mining across the country at a cost of almost R500m.
As part of the deployment, Ramaphosa informed the National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and chair of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo in a letter.
According to the President, the expenditure expected to be incurred for this deployment amounts to just more than R492m.
“This serves to inform the National Assembly [NCOP in a separate letter] that I have authorised the employment of 3,300 members of the SANDF for service in co-operation with the police to prevent and combat crime and maintain and preserve law and order in the Republic of South Africa under Operation Prosper.
“Members of the SANDF employed will, in co-operation with the South African Police Service, be conducting a high intensified anti-criminality operation against illegal mining across all provinces For six months,” said Ramaphosa.
The deployment is authorised in accordance with the provisions of the constitution read with a section of the Defence Act.
The section provides for the President or defence minister to authorise the deployment of the defence force for service inside the Republic or in international waters to support any department of state, including support for purposes of socioeconomic upliftment.
Last month Ramaphosa extended the deployment of 880 soldiers who are assisting police to prevent and combat crime.
He said that deployment was expected to cost just more than R110m.