The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirms that around 40 of its members that are deployed to Limpopo have tested positive for COVID-19. Like all other frontline workers, SANDF soldiers are exposed to the scourge of COVID-19, more than the average citizen.
The battalion that was identified to be deployed to Limpopo Province is an Infantry Battalion from Cape Town. As always the SANDF ensured that all the necessary precautions were in place and the battalion was under a 14 day quarantine period at their home unit in Cape Town before being transported to Lephalale to augment another battalion in the SANDF’s safeguarding role on the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The battalion arrived in Lephalale on 13 June 2020 and were immediately placed under the 14 day quarantine period at the South African Military Health Services Training Centre in Lephalale, as per the stipulated health protocols. As is the norm during Mission Readiness Training none of these members were allowed outside the base. After some members have been screened it became clear that a number of them needed to be tested. It was established that certain members tested positive for COVID-19. A decision was then taken for the entire battalion to be tested. Those found positive were isolated in a facility inside the base that has been specifically established and prepared for this purpose.
Soldiers of the SANDF are everyday at the coalface in the fight against COVID-19 in assisting other government departments in various different roles. Units of the SANDF are dispersed all over the Republic and the composition of its members is not from one region. The SANDF will not act irresponsible in making decisions on which elements needed to be deployed when and where.
The SANDF would like to urge all South Africans to heed the call of the Commander – in- Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, not to discriminate against persons that tested positive for Covid-19.