South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesperson, Sphiwe Dlamini, reiterated compliance among members of the public amid reports that some soldiers have been using excessive force to enforce the 21-days nationwide lockdown.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday night President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the SANDF members to act within the law at all times.
He cautioned them against harming South Africans and instead ensure their safety.
Earlier, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula condemned the alleged conduct of the SANDF members, but called on members of the public to avoid provoking them.
Dlamini says members of the public are equally responsible for observing the lockdown regulations that stipulate that they stay at home.
He says, “You’re equally on the wrong if you’re outside of your house during the lockdown which stipulates very clearly that you’re supposed to be in your own home and not walking around, unless you have a reason to be outside like to go do your groceries and your medicine and you go out in the streets and have fun that’s equally wrong. But I’m not justifying or condoning the behaviour of some of our soldiers.”
AUDIO: SABC’s interview with Sphiwe Dlamini:
According to one analyst, Khaya Sithole, the law is difficult to implement due to a prevalent culture of non-compliance.
He says, “The first problem is if you are going to deal with the problem of the SANDF, the first question is why do they need guns? When the use of the gun is violated, why do they carry them? So, those are the types of problems that you need to deal with because others would say well, in the absence of the guns no one will take them seriously.
That speaks more to the culture of impunity that prevails across society, the culture of non-compliance to laws and regulations, so again, it’s new territory, and it’s a learning process. Nobody knew what the conditions were going to be like once the lockdown was implemented.”
INFOGRAPHIC: How citizens can report security forces: