Parliament confirms army will not be deployed inside its precinct
TMG Digital | 2017-02-08 17:38:39.0
Parliament. File photo
Image by: REUTERS/Mark Wessels
Parliament has confirmed that the army will not be deployed inside its precincts or chamber for President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on Thursday night.
In a statement on Wednesday‚ it said it had noted with “serious concern the misunderstanding that the declaratory order issued by the President employing 441 members of the South African Defence Force to Parliament‚ means that the State of the Nation Address (SONA) will be under the command of the military”.
“As part of planning for SONA‚ Parliament engages with the relevant departments in the executive at national‚ provincial and local levels. These Departments include the South African National Defence Force that has a ceremonial role to play. Upon the request of the South African Police Services‚ the South African National Defence Force is sometimes deployed to support the police in exercising their safety and security function‚ such as the case in point‚” said spokesperson Manelisi Wolela .
Wolela said the army will not be deployed within the precincts of parliament and the chamber.
“The only time that may happen is when there is a threat to life and property‚ that is of such a nature that the South African Police cannot handle‚” said Wolela.
The Presidency announced on Tuesday night that Zuma had authorised the deployment of 441 members of the South African National Defence Force to Parliament until Friday.
The SANDF members would help police “maintain law and order” during the opening of parliament‚ it said.
ANC heavyweights in Parliament also gave assurances to opposition parties on Wednesday that the soldiers would not be deployed inside the parliamentary precinct.