The Department of Defense and Military Veterans has published the code of conduct for “Operation Prosper” – this code of conduct details the rules the South African Defense Force (SANDF) must follow when they respond to the ongoing violence and looting taking place in South Africa.
In the government gazette that was published on Wednesday evening, the department said that upholding and enforcing the law remains the primary responsibility of the South African Police Service.
“When the SANDF is employed in cooperation with the SAPS, SANDF members have the same powers and authority as the SAPS, excluding the investigation of crime. Notwithstanding this, SANDF members may perform tasks and duties they are adequately trained and equipped for,” it said.
The code of conduct further states that the SANDF’s cooperation with the SAPS is limited to the protection of life and property during crime combating operations.
They must also do all they can to protect the image of the SANDF, in other words no foul language and no warning shots.
The code of conduct provides a breakdown of how the SANDF must react in certain situations and what they are required to do:
Road blockages/Public Unrest and/or Looting
- Protect the SAPS while they manage the situation.
- Assist the SAPS to remove blockages only when it is safe to do so.
- Where possible, record events either in writing or by means of video/audio recordings.
- Do not fire warning shots.
- Exercise personal restraint and do not assault members of the public.
- Use less than lethal ammunition where possible.
Roadblocks, Vehicle Control Points (VCPs) and Cordons
- SAPS are responsible for establishing roadblocks/VCPs and cordons.
- Protect the SAPS while they conduct the operation.
- Positioning of early warning groups.
- Provision of guarding duties to the SAPS in the event of arrested persons.
Provocation/Insults and Disrespect
- Exercise a high tolerance level to provocation/insults and/or disrespect aimed at you or SAPS members.
- Warn civilians to cease with such behaviour.
- Do not assault civilians.
- Do not run away when attacked by civilians.
The code of conduct states that members of the SANDF have a right to defend themselves.
“This right to self-defence may be exercised to defend oneself, other members, prime mission equipment (PME), property, SAPS members and any member of the public where life is threatened and/or where there is an imminent threat of serious injury or destruction of property.Where there has been live firing it must be reported and recorded within a reasonable time, the report to include the place, how many rounds were fired and the outcome of the action in self-defence.”
The code of conduct comes amidst the government’s plan to ramp up the deployment of SANDF personnel in the coming days as a result of the violence and looting in the country.
Sources: Business Tech, Business Insider
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