09/02/2017 17:49 SAST | Updated 09/02/2017 17:52 SAST

Act Fearlessly, Police Commissioner Phahlane Tells Police Officers Ahead Of SONA

'May we never become tired of doing good,' prays one of the police officers.

Gallo Images / Sowetan / Sandile Ndlovu
SAPS acting national Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane

Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Kgomotso Phahlane told police officers on Thursday that there is nothing "foreign" about the deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members at president Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Phahlane was speaking to officers at an annual gathering at the Castle of Good Hope before the president's address.

This year is the first time media was allowed to attend the function.

An officer who did not want to be named told News24 that this year the more officers had been deployed to Sona than previous years.

"The deployment of the South African Defence Force is nothing foreign," Phahlane said to a group of around 300 officers.

He told them not to be afraid.

"Do not shy away; do not fear anything when executing your duties."

No 'overreacting'

"When we are called upon to act, we act," Phahlane said, while music playing at an ANC event, officially set to start later in the afternoon on Thursday in the Grand Parade, could be heard in the background.

He told the media that police had not received information that they considered a "red light".

However, Phahlane went on to say: "We cannot rule out any unruly elements from certain quarters."

He did not want to answer questions about whether police would enter parliamentary chambers if required.

Phahlane ended his address by telling officers to act lawfully.

"We are not going to allow [anyone] to overreact."

During the service an officer prayed for the safety of police officers.

"May we never become tired of doing good," he prayed.