The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has appealed for the public to exercise caution amid protest action – saying despite soldiers being deployed to help restore calm, they will not tolerate violent demonstrations or acts of criminality.

Addressing the nation on Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa authorised the deployment of the SANDF in efforts to restore order.

Protestors took to the streets at the weekend, demanding the release of former president, Jacob Zuma – after his incarceration last week.

SA Unrest I President Ramaphosa deploys army after looting sprees

The demonstrations have morphed into mass looting and vandalism, mostly in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.

“We already have our soldiers on the ground in Gauteng and KZN. It’s 2500 but the Defence Force is doing all in its power to get more soldiers to deploy them. I can assure South Africans that the soldiers will behave but one thing I must say to the community is please, we beg you not to provoke our members that are on the streets. We won’t tolerate any ill-discipline as the SANDF during this deployment,” says Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobhozi, SANDF spokesperson.

Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi on SANDF deployment in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal: