Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has condemned any abuse committed by SA National Defence Force (SANDF) deployees against citizens during the lockdown period.
In a statement, the department said it had noted allegations of abuse by SANDF members, deployed to support a government effort to contain Covid-19.
"The minister wishes to strongly reiterate the message delivered by the commander-in-chief of the SANDF to the deploying soldiers to desist from using excessive force against citizens of the country regardless of the level of provocation they may face while deployed," it added on Monday.
The department said Mapisa-Nqakula had instructed the chief of the SANDF to monitor the situation and deal with members who use excessive or unnecessary force.
"Such heavy-handedness is not in the interest of safeguarding our citizens."
Instead, the SANDF should empower the public about the dangers of the virus and urge citizens to stay home.
"This will help curb the spread of the virus in our communities.
"We appeal to all people to play a positive role in ensuring that the spread of the virus is curbed."
Mapisa-Nqakula also called on the public to adhere to the lockdown regulations and "desist from provoking any of the law enforcement officials deployed to assist in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic," the department said.