Covid-19 lockdown: Military ombud still receiving complaints of SANDF conduct
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PRETORIA - The Office of the South African Military Ombud continues to receive complaints from members of the public on the official conduct of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members supporting the South African Police Service (SAPS) during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown, the office said on Sunday.
"The South African Military Ombud Office has received 28 complaints in total to date, of which at least 15 complaints are from members of the public with allegations of excessive force and physical abuse by members of the SANDF during the lockdown," it said in a statement.
During this period, the office had also registered complaints from serving members of the SANDF concerning their conditions of service.
Established in 2012, the office was entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with the complaints and grievances brought by current and former members of the SANDF regarding their conditions of service. The office also investigated complaints from members of the public regarding the official conduct of members of the SANDF.
In the event that the office did not have jurisdiction over a complaint, it was referred to the relevant body, for example, a complaint on police brutality would be referred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
"The office would like to reiterate that those who want to lodge a complaint are advised to provide a description of the incident, including date, time, and place of incident. Name/s of soldier/s involved (visible on their name tags on their uniform). Names and contact particulars of witnesses to the incident. Recordings of the incident, if available – video or audio," the statement said.
Military Ombud Lt-Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo said it was imperative for members of the public to provide all the necessary details to assist investigators to conduct a thorough investigation before making recommendations to the minister of defence and military veterans.
The military ombud may recommend the implementation of any appropriate course of action to the minister that would provide appropriate relief to the complainant. The office served as an alternative dispute resolution platform outside of the department of defence to deal with complaints, the statement said.