President Cyril Ramaphosa's move to deploy the army during lockdown illegal

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Seven days to apply for approval but National Assembly is on hiatus due to Covid-19 shutdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has seven days to inform parliament about his deployment of the army to help the SA police service enforce the coronavirus lockdown.

According to an expert, without parliament’s approval, the process could be rendered illegal or a violation of the constitution.

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Although Ramaphosa has the prerogative to deploy the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), he still needed to inform parliament, which must endorse or reject it within seven days. The matter would be referred to the joint standing committee on defence.

Standing committee co-chair Cyril Xaba said they expected the president to give the committee a report that included details of the deployment, such as its purpose, numbers of soldiers and budget. Seven days had not elapsed and the president could still inform parliament.

“The country is facing a crisis … we think there is a need for drastic action.

“The president needed more manpower, the soldiers are there… We agree with measures that are to save lives,” Xaba said.

But an influential ANC member with parliamentary experience was worried that, since parliament was not sitting, it could be a problem unless an urgent session was convened.

“Parliament is closed now; how did this decision come around. Anyone can take us to the Constitutional Court and we lose,” he said.

– The Citizen


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