There is always an added responsibility to those who are held with high regard by the community to never betray the trust they have on them. Indeed the voice of Dr Johan Burger is held in high esteem by the community, therefore that power must never be abused.
“Army members are trained to go to war, therefore there is always the danger that when they are deployed in communities for long periods of time, that there will be certain violations,” said Burger.
“While they are supposed to receive training on police rules and conduct before they go into a community, they may find themselves in a situation where they do not have the experience to handle it correctly,” he continued.
Burger may be forgiven if he had taken a holiday outside the country in 2015, during operation Fiela. But that could be difficult to forgive in someone who prides himself as a security expert — he ought to know better. It is not certain if colleagues of Burger’s cared to share with him, while he was on holiday, that there was no danger posed to communities, and neither did our people have complaints about the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
I am not sure who said the SANDF will be deployed for a long time as the “the good doctor” suggests, or perhaps Burger is also a sangoma who threw stones and predicted the deployment period of the SANDF members.
“The other danger is that when you deploy a whole lot of young men into a community where there are young women, we’ve seen in other places in Africa that it doesn’t take long for complaints to surface. It’s not an ideal situation.”
So “the good doctor” honestly thinks that young men who sworn to defend this country, who have been deployed in many parts of our continent for peacekeeping missions, are a bunch of sexually hungry men who will rape young women at first sight? Since the dawn of democracy, our SANDF members have never betrayed our people on that scale. What exactly is he opposing here?
“However, the Constitution and the Defense Act make provision for the deployment of the SANDF members to support the South African Police Service (SAPS) when deemed necessary. There are strict prerequisites for this.”
Finally someone whispered to “the good doctor” that indeed the Defence Act makes provision for the deployment of the SANDF to support SAPS. It is amazing that the article was written or published. I can only conclude that “the good doctor” wanted to send a wrong message to readers that he suspects SANDF members will go on a rampage and rape young women.
We therefore have a duty to inform all readers that we have absolute trust in the level of the SANDF members’ professionalism, and that they will never betray our people. Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula does not interact with South Africans through the media alone; he also interacts with them through izimbizo and organised mass meetings. One clear message from the community is: “Mbalula, do something! Criminals have taken over our streets!”
I therefore invite “the good doctor” to join the minister in these izimbizo and listen to the plight of our people. — Vuyo Mhaga, Ministry of Police spokesperson