File picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency (ANA)

Military ombud probes public complaints relating to lockdown

By ANA Reporter Time of article published May 19, 2020

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Cape Town - The military ombud continues to investigate complaints received during the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, the office said on Tuesday, urging the public to lodge these in writing.

In a statement, the office said it had received some 52 reports from members of the public as well as currently serving and former members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during the lockdown imposed from March 27 in a bid to contain the coronavirus.

Of these, 32 were complaints from the public relating to heavy handedness, undignified treatment and unlawful confiscation of property by officers enforcing lockdown rules, while 20 complaints were from current and former SANDF members in connection with termination of service, receipt of benefits, grievances and grievance procedures.

According to the Military Ombud Act, the office can only investigate complaints lodged in writing.

Military Ombud, retired Lieutenant General Vusumuzi Masondo said it was critical for complainants to provide adequate details, noting that a majority of those lodged through social media contained insufficient information.

He said the office was unable to deal with complaints that were already before, or had been decided by a civilian or military court of law. 

The office also does not investigate cases of an alleged criminal nature as these are dealt with by the South African Police Service or the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Masondo said the office had already started assessing complaints lodged from the onset of the lockdown by members of the public, with some already allocated for investigation.

He said investigators were hard at work trying to gather all the facts, adding that the office was required to inform in writing all other interested parties to the complaint and afford them the opportunity to submit a response.

African News Agency/ANA

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