The South African Defence Force (SANDF) only received a formal request for assistance this morning. The country’s ‘last line of defence’ is currently working with the Western Cape Disaster Management Centre.
This followed allegations from various quarters this morning that the defence force had been reluctant to help and needed two days to prepare for the emergency operation in Knysna.
Spokesperson for the SANDF Siphiwe Dlamini told The Citizen that they had only received the request this morning at 1am.
Dlamini emphasised that the defence force had “to be deployed” to assist in emergency responses.
“We are part of the Western Cape provincial joint operations centre, and everything we do is in partnership with other structures in the province,” he said.
Dlamini said this morning’s request included “water-bombing, ground troops to assist the police to prevent criminal elements taking advantage of the evacuated areas and water bunkers to ensure fire engines do not travel long distances”.