DA leader, John Steenhuisen has criticised Police Minister Bheki Cele for deploying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to keep residents off beaches on the Garden Route.
Earlier this week, Cele announced that he had requested for SANDF soldiers to fill in for 300 police officers who tested positive for Covid-19 and another 800 who were in isolation.
“We have requested to have soldiers work with members of the police service because our own numbers are down,” said Cele, according to TimesLIVE.
However, DA leader, John Steenhuisen has criticised Cele for enlisting the SANDF’s services to carry out frivilous duties like, “chasing down surfers on the beach and the confrontation of sunbathers and joggers on promenades”.
“Government was banning the sale of cooked food, cigarettes and telling citizens what they could wear, while other countries were busy with Covid vaccine plans. Now Cele is sending the army to the beaches while communities live in fear of real criminals. Priorities are mixed up,” Steenhuisen said.
The 44-year-old went on to question whether Cele was even within his rights to order the SANDF to take over police duties, considering that that’s not within the Police Minister’s scope of work. Enacting this kind of policy falls under Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole’s duties.
“The SA Police Service are accountable to the minister but not under his command and it is worrying that the commissioner seems to have handed minister Cele the reins without so much as a pushback about the way his men and women in blue are being deployed,” Steenhuisen continued, before criticising the ANC as a whole and accusing them of having a despotic agenda.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that our national security personnel are being misused to serve the authoritarian agendas of ANC ministers hell-bent on controlling rather than governing.”