Defence Minister Thandi Modise is hoping that the SANDF will be reimbursed by the Department of Public Enterprises through the assistance of the National Treasury for the deployment of the SANDF to provide security at power stations.
Modise expressed her wish when she was responding to parliamentary questions from ANC MP Thabo Mmutle, who asked for details of resources and capabilities of the SANDF in the light of its continued involvement in ensuring safety and security at power stations.
The SANDF has been deployed since December 2022 to support the SAPS and Eskom in securing critical infrastructure on the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Modise said the deployment was necessitated by acts of theft and vandalism which contributed to energy shortages.
“The deployment of SANDF has enabled Eskom to repair, maintain and secure power stations and furthermore has positively contributed towards reducing load shedding and enabled the government to continue to work towards stabilising and increasing the energy action plan,” she said.
Modise also said the SANDF continued to deploy and conduct operations with the resources and capabilities that were currently available.
“This has increased our reserve force man-days and resulting in further increase of the cost of employment budget.
“This matter has been discussed and hopefully the Department of Defence will get reimbursed or refunded by the Department of Public Enterprises through the assistance of the National Treasury,” she said.
Modise noted that Ramaphosa extended the deployment of the SANDF earlier this month to assist in the protection of Eskom power stations and other installations by another six months until March 2024.
She was referring to Ramaphosa’s authorisation of the employment of 3 300 members for service in co-operation with the SAPS to prevent and combat crime, and maintain and preserve law and order, under Operation Prosper.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the SANDF would conduct an intensified anti-criminality operation against illegal mining across all provinces from October until April 2024.
“The expenditure expected to be incurred for this deployment amounts to R492 143 296,” Magwenya said.