The Military Ombud Office has as South Africa enters week four of the national lockdown received 15 complaints of soldiers using excessive force and physically abusing people.
This is more than half all complaints brought to the attention of retired lieutenant general Vusi Masondo and his staff for investigation since the lockdown started on 26 March. The initial three week lockdown period was extended for a further two weeks until the end of April. The other 13 complaints, according to a statement, are to do with conditions of service in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
A spokesman for the Ombud said lockdown-related complaints and others received in the past three weeks are all being assessed and communication with complainants was being made “as far as possible”. The first lockdown soldier violence complaint to be brought to Masondo’s attention was laid by Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais.
According to the Ombud the average turnaround time for an investigation to be finalised is 247 days, just on eight months.