The multiple options fight against the coronavirus behind Covid-19 opened a new front. South Africa cellphone companies have agreed to give the government cellphone location data in order to track infected persons, USAfricaonline.com has learned.
South Africa’s Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said on Wednesday “It is important to look at the individuals that are affected [by the virus] in order to be able to help the department of health to say that we know, in a particular area we have so many people that have been infected…. The industry collectively has agreed to provide data analytics services in order to help government achieve this.”
As its number of persons who are dead or seriously dealing with the CoronaVirus infection continue to increase exponentially, South Africa’s infantry soldiers have begun mobilization. The lockdown, effective Thursday March 26, 2020, is code-named Operation Prosper and Operation Chariot.
USAfrica has been informed President Cyril Ramaphosa will address his very worried citizens, in a few hours…. It will be recalled that 25 years ago, into the beginning of the presidency of Nelson Mandela, battled the scourge of AIDS in his country.
The challenge continued with the presidencies of the technocrat Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. Some of those issues are addressed in the November 2020 book MLK, MANDELA & ACHEBE: POWER, LEADERSHIP & IDENTITY by USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to announce further restrictions and regulations tonight after the number of confirmed infections jumped almost 47%, from 274 to 402 cases in the last 24 hours.
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge of discussions at the highest level of government, Ramaphosa could announce the enforcement of a national lockdown of 21 days. This might well entail the closure of various non-essential businesses and the regulation of movement in especially Gauteng. The army will provide support to the police.
The acting chief of the army, Major General Mannetijes de Goede, has taken charge of the operation and has instructed his commanders that the situation in the country is “serious” and that preparations for a “total shutdown” should be accelerated.
He has also ordered the army, at the instruction of the chief of the South African National Defence Force General Solly Shoke, to change its footing from “peacetime” to “wartime”.
“This is a national crisis… total shutdown,” De Goede apparently said.
According to multiple sources with direct access to force preparation, De Goede and his senior commanders have been preparing to take a more active role in South Africa’s response to the spread of Covid-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus – since last week.
Deployed to 8 provinces
News24 has also confirmed the authenticity of a document widely being circulated that sets out the army’s initial planning for deployment nationwide. The document – classified as “restricted” and titled “SA Army Infantry Formation Warning Order 01/2020, Deployment of support of the people in support of other state departments to mitigate the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak” – sets out initial force preparation and deployment details.
The document states that one company will be deployed in each of all the provinces, except for Limpopo, to provide support to other government departments and that deployment will commence on Monday, 22 March 2020, and continue for at least 21 days. Two companies will be deployed in Gauteng.
All force preparations were completed by Saturday, and a combat readiness certificate was issued to the army on the same day.
The document states: “The maintenance of law and order remains primarily a SAPS function, but circumstances necessitate the support of the SANDF (to the police). During such planning, the tasks of the two forces must be spelt out separately and clearly. The presence of SAPS with SANDF on a continuous basis is preferable.”
The document does not, however, explicitly say what the army’s tasks during its deployment will be, but sets out the rules of engagement, and emphasises the use of “minimum force” remains a standing order.
In his instruction to senior commanders, De Goede said Operation Chariot would commence on Monday at 13:30 when mobilisation in the eight provinces ahead of deployment would start. He has also instructed his officers to ensure that roadblock equipment is ready for use.
Army ‘too small’
The army constantly maintains a company ready to be deployed in every province as standard operating procedure. An infantry batallion is also always at the ready as part of standard force readiness.
According Helmoed Romer Heitman, an independent defence analyst, the army is too small to enforce a nationwide “lockdown” and that they will not be able to man and patrol every street.