Shortly before his annual State of the Nation address earlier this month, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced that he had authorised the ‘employment’ of 441 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) ‘for service in cooperation with the SA Police Service (SAPS) to maintain law and order during the opening of Parliament’. The decision caused widespread concern – and was severely attacked by opposition parties. The Democtratic Alliance (DA) accused Zuma of attempting to shield himself from criticism, while the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) described the move as a ‘declaration of war’ on citizens – and urged the soldiers to disobey Zuma’s orders. While the president’s statement made the deployment of the military with police sound almost matter of fact, in reality this is not the case.
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