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Zuma authorises army deployment in Marikana

Sapa

The South African National Defence Force has officially been deployed in Marikana from September 14 until next year January.

President Jacob Zuma. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo)

In a statement on Thursday, the presidency said the soldiers would support the police "in the prevention and combating of crime as well as the maintenance of law and order in the Marikana area, North West province and other areas around the country where needed".

Asked which "other areas" the presidency had in mind, spokesperson Mac Maharaj said this could be any place where soldiers would be needed.

Cape Town, where the military was deployed last year, was one of the areas under consideration, he said.

"It's based on the pattern of crime incidents in the festive season period," Maharaj said.

The deployment to Marikana was needed because "there had been some problems too" in the area.

"The police have had to attend to it. Wherever they need to have support [from SANDF], that support will remain available," Maharaj said.

He said while the military would support police, "the primary function would remain in the hands of the police".

The deployment would last from September 14 until January 31 next year.

The Star newspaper on Thursday reported that a backdated notice had been issued by the ministry of defence that would legalise the deployment of soldiers to Marikana.

The notice was published in the Government Gazette on Tuesday and signed by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The date on the signature was September 14.

The paper cited the Defence Act as stating that a notice of a troop deployment had to be made in the Gazette within 24 hours. – Sapa

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