In a recent announcement, President Cyril Ramaphosa has given the green light for the deployment of 880 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to secure various Eskom power stations throughout the country. This decision was communicated in writing to Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly, and Amos Masondo, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The statement, which was released on Saturday, clarifies that these soldiers will collaborate with the South African Police Service (SAPS) under Operation Prosper. This joint effort aims to prevent and combat crime while maintaining and preserving law and order in the Republic of South Africa.
The primary objective of the SANDF deployment is to assist the SAPS in protecting Eskom power stations across the nation. These vital facilities face various threats, such as sabotage, theft, and other crimes, which could jeopardize their functionality and disrupt the supply of electricity.
This particular deployment is set to last from 17 April 2023 until 17 October 2023. It’s worth noting that the Presidency had previously reported the involvement of 2,700 SANDF members who were assisting SAPS in safeguarding Eskom power stations under Operation Prosper. This initial operation took place from 17 March 2023 to 17 April 2023.
The authorization for the current deployment is in line with Section 201(2) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. As for the financial aspect of this exercise, the anticipated expenditure is expected to surpass R146 million.
In summary, President Ramaphosa has taken decisive action to ensure the security of Eskom power stations in the face of potential threats. By deploying 880 SANDF members to collaborate with the SAPS under Operation Prosper, the government is demonstrating its commitment to maintaining the stability and safety of South Africa’s energy infrastructure.