Military Ombudsman urges those abused by SANDF members to come forward
Pretoria - The South African Office of the Military Ombud has urged people who have been victims of alleged abuse by members of the SANDF to lodge their complaints with the Military Ombudsman.
Military Ombudsman spokesperson Teresa Magidela said the the body served as independent, external mechanism to deal with complaints and grievances. Magidela said members of the public can lodge a complaints regarding the conduct of members of the SANDF to the office.
“We note that the Department of Defence released a statement taking note of various allegations of abuse by deployed members of the SANDF who are supporting government efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic. In the statement, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans denounces any type or form of abuse committed by deployed soldiers against members of the public during the 21 days lockdown period.
“Those who want to lodge a complaint with the Military Ombud Office 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 voice,” Magidela said.
She said members of the public had 90 days to lodge a complaint with the office, from the date of the incident, and if they have lodged a complaint with law enforcement agencies and the matter is before court or the court has ruled, the office won’t have jurisdiction.
“The South African Military Ombud Lt Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo said communities need to be informed of the existence of the office and the assistance they can get from the office when they need to lodge a complaint.
“Our job is to make sure that complaints that come through our office are handled professionally and the rights of citizens of the country are protected without compromise.”
The Military Ombud Office said it does not have the mandate to deal with the conduct of SAPS members and that all matter should be referred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).