Military Ombud marks 10th anniversary

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This Friday (11 November) marks the 10th anniversary of the SA Military Ombud office and its lustre will be added to by its annual symposium.

The symposium, with an emphasis on civil/military relations, will take place at Centurion’s Royal Elephant Hotel. The cumbersome title of the gathering – The role of the Ombud in providing oversight within the civil-military architecture: threats, resilience, responsiveness and future implications – will see, a statement has it “leaders and experts from the armed forced, civil service and academia debate and deliberate” on best practices for ombud institutions.

Current ombud, retired genersl Vusi Masondo, sees Friday’s symposium as an opportunity to “reflect on positives and challenges” pointing out serving national defence force personnel and the public use Ombud services to settle service condition issues and soldiers’ public conduct.

Speakers include Dr Moses Khanyile Stellenbosch University; Chris Nissan SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC); Professor Somadada Fikeni Public Service Commission; Nick Sendall: Chief Director: Defence Policy, Strategy and Planning SA Defence Ministry and Major General Eric Mnisi, Acting Head: Defence Legal Division.

Discussion topics include building trust and managing complainants’ expectations; the reluctance of armed personnel to complain and how can ombud institutions promote inclusive armed forces and protection of vulnerable groups in the armed forces and the public.