The Military Ombud office in Centurion has put at least 32 complaints about among others, heavy handedness, undignified treatment and unlawful confiscation of property by soldiers on its books since the national lockdown started on 26 March.
While all complaints will be thoroughly dealt with Ombud Vusi Masondo indicated it is “critical” full details of incidents are provided to enable proper investigation.
“The office notes the majority of complaints are lodged through social media and contain insufficient information. As a result, the office has made available intake officers to assist complainants not able to submit the required information during lockdown,” the retired lieutenant general said in a statement adding his office is “unable” to deal with complaints finalised by either a civilian or military court.
“The Ombud office also does not investigate cases of alleged criminal nature. These are dealt with by the SA Police Service (SAPS) or IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate).”
Masondo’s office has started assessing lockdown related complaints and “some have been allocated for investigation”.
“Investigators are gathering facts and contacting complainants for further information. Additionally the Ombud is required to inform – in writing – all interested parties to any complaint and afford all the opportunity to respond.”
When all this is done a report with recommendations is compiled for the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula).
“She then instructs the Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to implement the recommendations. Ombud recommendations can only be overturned by the High Court,” according to Masondo.