The South African Military Ombud Lt Gen (Ret) Temba Matanzima led a delegation in a working visit to Namibia on 25 February, where he met with the Executive Director of the Ministry of Defence.
The Ombud will also meet the Permanent Secretary for the Lesotho Ministry of Defence and National Security on 27 February. This will be followed by a visit to Mozambique to meet with the Ombudsman of Mozambique, the Ministry of Defence and the Parliament on 01 March.
His visit to these countries is aimed at enhancing dialogue, lobbying support and exploring mechanisms for the possible establishment of Military Ombud Institutions, the ombud’s office said.
This comes on the heels of South Africa hosting a 10th International Conference of Ombud Institutions for the Armed Forces (10ICOAF) in October last year. The conference brought more than 120 delegations from member states together with the purpose of exchanging best practices and lessons learned related to the mandate, powers and functioning of these institutions.
Among the outcomes of the conference was the promotion and support of ongoing dialogue, participation, and mutual collaboration on issues of external oversight to deepen the exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise, and to foster close collaboration on issues of military-civic relations and promote good governance and accountability. Another outcome was to support initiatives on security reforms in particular in the area of the promotion of Human Rights and strengthening oversight bodies relating to the armed forces.
Matanzima said armed forces oversight institutions are well positioned to promote good governance and accountability within the defence sectors. “Africa is not an exception and this assertion resonates well with the AU vision and AGENDA 2063 landscape, said Matanzima.
Matanzima said the working visits to Namibia, Lesotho and Mozambique are aimed at strengthening cooperation and sharing good practices amongst independent oversight institutions in Africa and beyond.
He further emphasized that he does recognise that each national context is unique, that is why ongoing international dialogues are essential amongst ombuds institutions and Defence Ministries to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms within and by the armed forces.