The cost of litigation is a concern when it comes to Military Ombud matters that are taken as far as the country’s high courts, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) avers.
It wants to see legal costs borne by complainants and not the Department of Defence, which is the Military Ombud funder.
This, committee chair Cyril Xaba believes, will prevent a situation where the taxpayer “ends up paying for the insubordination of others”.
Reviewing the annual report presented by Military Ombud Vusi Masondo, the PCDMV welcomed an improved performance against set targets.
The same meeting saw the PCDMV evaluate a presentation from the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) on the military veterans appeal board.
Appeal board member Nomsa Dlamini told the meeting “increasing protests by military veterans have the potential to destabilise the country”. Her comments were noted as well as the improved relationship between the DMV and the board. One was when both the PCDMV and Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla interceded to ensure provision of “necessary tools” to enable proper functioning of the board.
“A major challenge faced by the Appeals Board relates to the governance and accountability framework, which the Military Veterans Act does not address,” according to a Parliamentary Communication Service statement. “The committee was told this places the independence of the office at risk. The committee agrees the appeals board cannot be financially dependent on the department against which its clients are aggrieved, adding this creates a tenuous relationship.”