Military Ombud hosting annual symposium

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The South African Military Ombud Office is today hosting its eleventh annual symposium under the theme, “the role of military ombud institutions in promoting human rights and administrative justice within the military in the African context”.

The Military Ombud, Lieutenant General (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo, is scheduled to give a keynote address on the role that the Office plays within the armed forces.

Speakers lined up for 10 November include Dr Moses Khanyile – Director CEMIS, Stellenbosch University; Grace Malera – Ombudsman, Malawi; Advocate Sipho Mantula – Researcher at the University of South Africa; Steven Ramafoko – Head Legal Services: Independent Police Investigative Directorate; Advocate Vasu Gounden – Founder and Executive Director ACCORD; Major General Eric Mnisi – Adjutant General of Defence Legal Services; and Florence Kajuju – Ombudsman, Kenya amongst others.

Masondo said the Ombud’s office has enlisted the educated opinion of prominent speakers, ombudspersons and academics who are well conversant with the topics and global events relevant to the symposium.

“The broader objective of this symposium is to discuss the current and future context issues in Africa, the role of our armed forces and how its oversight can be enhanced,” Masondo said. “Furthermore, the discussion will attempt to map out the way forward and explore the possibilities of how the creation of regional and multilateral partnerships can aid in enhancing oversight.”

The Military Ombud’s Office was created in 2012 with the mandate of investigating complaints by South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members and former members regarding their conditions of service. Part of the mandate is also investigating complaints from the members of the public regarding the official conduct of the SANDF when they are on duty, the Ombud’s office said.