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Agreement with Defence Force Service Commission

By S Sgt Itumeleng Makubela 
Photos by Pte Paul Mpangala

The Military Ombudsman, Lt Gen (Ret) Temba Matanzima and the Chairperson of the Defence Service Commission (DFSC), Professor Edna Van Haarte sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Military Ombud Office in Centurion.

The Military Ombudsman, Lt Gen (Ret) Temba Matanzima and the Chairperson of the Defence Service Commission (DFSC), Professor Edna Van Haarte sign a Memorandum of Understanding at the Military Ombud Office in Centurion.

The Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) and the Office of the Military Ombud signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide for a framework for cooperation and collaboration between the two institutions. The parties recognise the concerted effort between the two institutions in respect of complaints falling within their respective mandate or areas of interest.

Office of the Military Ombud is a statutory body established in terms of the Military Ombud Act, No. 4 of 2012 to investigate complaints lodged by either current or former members of the South African National Defence Force regarding conditions of service and complaints lodged by the public regarding the conduct of members of the Defence Force.

However, the Defence Force Service Commission is a commission established in terms of Section 62A of the Defence Amendment Act, No 22 of 2010. The Commission is mandated in terms of section 62B of the mentioned Act, to make recommendations to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans on improvements of salaries and service benefits, on review of policies in respect of conditions of service, and promotion of measures and setting of standards for efficient and effective implementation of policies for members of the South African National Defence Force.

Part of the agreement is that where a party receives a complaint, which falls within purview of the other party’s mandate, the receiving party shall refer the complaint to the other Party for consideration or may refer the complainant to the said party for further assistance.

Where the allegations which form the subject matter of the complaint has partial application to the mandate of either party, the parties shall decide in the interest of proper and effective investigation of the complaint, the party that can best investigate the complaint or to conduct a joint investigation as the case may be.

The Director Legal Services at the Office of the Military Ombuds, Ms C.N Pillay explained that issues in the areas of mutual interest have been expanded on in terms of the agreement. She said the MoU provides that complaints that are received in the event that one is institution is more suitable to deal with complaint as opposed to the other, they should establish which of the institution can handle the complaint, refer it to the other or have a joint investigation or an enquiry by both institutions.

She said: “The MoU speaks of collaboration and partnership in raising awareness on issues in ensuring that personnel procedure relating to among other things, recruitment, transfer, promotions and dismissals comply with the values and principles set out in section 195 of the constitution.

This also involves the sharing and assistance of information which will include, but not limited to complaints handling, support systems and procedure, training and development.”

She indicated that the MoU is a momentous step in fostering sound business relations between two institutions. Ms Pillay said they will support each other on matters of mutual interest and other matters they could learn from to expand their knowledge.

The Military Ombudsman, Lt Gen (Ret) Temba Matanzima mentioned that circumstances beyond their control have led to their institutions identifying areas of collaboration with the view of offering better services to their stakeholders.

He said: “The Defence Force Service Commission and the Military Ombud acknowledges that the two institutions complement each other to some extent. In recognition of the synergy between us, we identified areas of collaboration and cooperation. Our institutions play an integral part within the DOD in promotion of good governance.

The Commission is a strategic partner and we are confident that this agreement will benefit our strategic stakeholders which are the members of the military.”

Chairperson of the Defence Force Service Commission, Professor Edna Van Haarte said the commission values the partnership as whatever complaints the Military Ombud deal with from the SANDF members must also be of importance to them. She said the Military Ombud will strengthen their office, especially with their legal expertise.

ByAdministrator

Office of the military Ombud and Public Service Commission sign a memorandum of understanding

Chairperson of the PSC, Adv Richard Sizani and retired Lt Gen Temba Matanzima signing memorandum of understanding

Chairperson of the PSC, Adv Richard Sizani and retired Lt Gen Temba Matanzima signing memorandum of understanding

The Office of the Military Ombud and the Public Service Commission (PSC) today, marked a historic day as the two institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide for a framework for cooperation and collaboration with the view to sharing information and enhancing the effectiveness and the efficiency of the two institutions.

The memorandum of understanding between the two institutions will pave a way for collaboration and cooperation in respect of complaints falling within both parties mandate.

Military Ombud retired Lt Gen Temba Matanzima says he is excited with the agreement as these two institutions play an integral part when it comes to the promotion of good governance, professional and ethical leadership across the society.

“We are positive that this cooperation will go a long way in restoring the dignity of those who find themselves seeking help from these two Offices. We are committed to serve our stakeholders with dignity and pride,” said Matanzima.

The Chairperson of the PSC, Adv Richard Sizani mentioned that in the recent cabinet Lekgotla the need for the improvement of efficiency, effectiveness and coordination was emphasized. He was of the view that the MoU between these two institutions is a step towards realizing this objective. He further mentioned that there are many benefits to this MoU, it not only formalizes the relationship between the PSC and the Office of the Military Ombud, but provides for the sharing of practical experiences and common areas of interests with the aim of enhancing the capacity of both institutions, as well as the referral of complaints.

The Public Service Commission and the Office of the Military Ombud acknowledge that the functions of the two institutions complement each other to some extent. In recognising the synergy between them, the PSC and the Office of Military Ombud identified the following areas of collaboration:

  • Collaboration and cooperation in respect of complaints falling within either Party’s mandate;
  • Exchange of information on personnel and public administration practices; and
  •  Any other areas of interest as may be identified from time to time

The Office of the Military Ombud was established in terms of the Military Ombud Act, Act 4 of 2012 to investigate complaints lodged in writing by a member and former members of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) regarding their conditions of service. The Office also investigates complaints brought by members of the public against SANDF member’s personal conduct in public.

The PSC is a Chapter 10 Institution which derives its mandate from Section 195 of the Constitution.

ByAdministrator

Lt Gen Matanzima briefs media on case statistics

“A WATCHDOG THAT HOLDS THE SANDF TO ACCOUNT”

National Press Club Exco

Management of the Office of the Military Ombud

Members of the media

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning

The Military Ombud Act, 4 of 2012 stipulates that the core mandate of the office is to investigate complaints lodged in writing by:

  • A member of the Defence Force regarding his or her conditions of service;
  • A former member regarding his or her conditions of service;
  • A member of the public regarding the official conduct of a member of the Defence Force; or
  • A person acting on behalf of a member

The Office of the Military Ombud celebrated four years in May 2016 since it was established back in 2012 with  me as the country’s first ever Military Ombud appointed by the President and Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, Honorable J.G. Zuma.

Our vision is to be “A World Leading Independent and Impartial Military Ombud Institution.”

Our mission is “To provide an Independent, Impartial and Expeditious Complaints Resolution Process for Serving and Former Members of the SANDF and the Public to Promote Good Governance”

The South African Military Ombud Office provides an independent, external mechanism to deal with the complaints and grievances of current and former members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and is also a place for the public to lodge complaints about the official conduct of soldiers.

The role of an Ombud’s institution is to gather facts in order to understand the merits of a complaint and thereafter to consult all relevant parties to the complaint to either settle the complaint or to make a recommendation to resolve the complaint.

An ombudsman’s investigation is not a criminal investigation nor is it meant to be an adversarial process, it is rather an administrative inquiry to ensure due process has been observed.

The Military Ombud does not represent the complainant, the Department of Defence or any other government authority but is rather an independent, impartial third party that conducts an investigation in a fair and objective manner to ensure an accountable and transparent government.  

The Ombud is empowered by the Military Ombud Act 4 of 2012 to investigate complaints relating to conditions of service as listed in section 1 of the Defence Act which include, among others:

  • recruitment procedures,
  • advertising and selection criteria,
  • appointment and appointment processes,
  • job classification and grading, salaries,
  • allowances and service benefits,
  • job assignments, working environment and facilities,
  • education, training and development,
  • performance evaluation systems,
  • promotion, transfer, demotion and
  • dismissal, disciplinary measures,
  • grievance and grievance procedures,
  • scarce skills,
  • pay progression,
  • tools of trade as well as accommodation.

STATISTICAL OVERVIEW

I am proud to present to you the performance statistics of the Office of the Military Ombud for 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years relating to the conditions of service as prescribed by the Military Ombud Act 4 of 2012 as follows:

Per Financial Year:

FINANCIAL YEAR

TOTAL CARRIED OVER CASES

TOTAL CASES RECEIVED IN FY

TOTAL RECEIVED

TOTAL FINALISED

ACTIVE CASES AT FY END

FY 2014/15

272

279

551

318

233

FY 2015/16

233

250

483

365

118

Per Category:

CATEGORY

CARRIED OVER FROM FY2014/15

RECEIVED IN FY2015/16

TOTAL RECEIVED

FINALISED IN YEAR RECEIVED

TOTAL FINALISED

CARRIED OVER TO FY2016/17

Promotion, Demotion and Career Intervention

49

34

83

20

55

28

Utilisation & Placement

19

18

37

13

31

6

Service Benefits

46

76

122

59

96

26

Education, Training and Development

6

3

9

3

8

1

Remuneration

18

25

43

20

31

12

Grievance/Discipline

8

13

21

10

16

5

Service Termination

68

69

137

47

103

34

Otter

18

5

23

5

21

2

TOTAL

233

250

483

180

365

118

I am proud to say my Office is now fully operational and its performance has been gaining momentum year on year and this is borne out by the fact that it has finalized 365 complaints and only carried over 118 cases to the current financial year of 2016/17. We hoping to improve more on this performance in the current financial year.

CASE STUDY: RE: COMMUTTED OVERTIME AND SALARY AUDIT

Complaint submitted to the Office of the Military Ombud alleging that in 2012 he signed Commuted Over-Time (COT) under category three (3). He alleged that in 2013 March COT was unilaterally stopped retrospectively and was reinstated at a lower level, category two (2). 

He alleged that in March 2014, he requested a salary audit in order to establish if his Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD) was effected correctly. He was of the view that OSD was not done correctly hence he requested for salary audit, which was not entertained until his retirement in December 2014.

Upon the Military Ombud involvement, DoD agreed to pay outstanding hours of commuted overtime as per the complainant’s contract with them and hours worked. Regarding OSD claim, his salary was audited effective from 2009 to 2014 and was adjusted accordingly.

He was translated from grade one (1) clinical head of department to grade two (2) clinical head of department. As result of the Audit, payments related to OSD rectification were made in April 2015 and for commuted overtime in June 2016 in excess of 1 million rand. We have requested (DoD) SAMHS to give Tax Directive for both these transactions.

INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENTS

The Office of the Military Ombud is now a full member of the International Conference of Ombud’s institutions for the Armed Forces (ICOAF) which brings together representatives from various countries around the globe with the purpose of exchanging information and experiences about their functioning and good practices in assisting their Armed Forces in their respective countries.

This is an annual event and South Africa is privileged to have been invited to host the 10th ICOAF in October 2018. This is a singular honour as this will be the first time since the establishment of the ICOAF that the Conference is hosted on African soil. It is our hope that with the hosting of this event, we can inspire other African countries to consider establishing institutions of this nature to look after their citizens in uniform.

Further to the above, I as a South African representative, duly appointed by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans to the Centre for the Democratic Control for Armed Forces (DCAF) Foundation Council, will be attending the DCAF Foundation Council meeting from 12- 15 November 2016.

South Africa has been a DCAF Member State since 2001. DCAF is an international foundation established in 2000 on the initiative of the Swiss Confederation. DCAF contributes to enhancing security sector governance (SSG) through security sector reform (SSR). DCAF is based in Geneva as its permanent office and the Foundation Council meets annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre’s work supports effective, efficient security sectors which are accountable to the state and its citizens. To date, DCAF has over 63 Member states affiliated.

It is imperative to note that the Office of the Military Ombud is the first of its kind in the African Continent

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

Through our outreach plan and activities, the Office has reached more than 80% of the units of the South African National Defence Force across the country and my Office has handled and processed more than one thousand complaints since 2012. The Office is open for business for current and former members of the Defence Force and the public at large and we are located at 349 Eco Origins, Block C 4 Witch-Hazel Avenue Centurion.

I thank you.

 

Ends

Enquiries: Acting Head of Communications Mr Isaac Dhludhlu on 0837 909 404 / 012 676 3811 Email: dhludhlui@milombud.org

 

 

ByAdministrator

General Matanzima welcomes the Deputy Military Ombud Adv Marivate

Amd Masutha

Admiral Rendani Marivate

The Military Ombud Lt General (Ret) TT Matanzima is pleased to announce the appointment of the Deputy Military Ombud, Advocate Rendani Marivate. President Zuma signed the appointment on the 20th February 2017 in terms of the Military Ombud Act 4 of 2012 and has assumed her duties at the Office of the Military Ombud on the 1st April 2017. Adv Marivate was a South African naval officer serving as Director Military Defence Counsel since 2011 to date. She was responsible for an affordable, fully integrated, credible, sustainable, effective and efficient military Defence counsel service for members of the SANDF whenever required. A graduate from the Naval College in 1995, becoming the first black female officer in the Navy and joined the Legal Office in Simon’s Town. She completed her law degree at the University of Venda in 1990 and her LLB in 1993 at the University of the North where she also lectured for six months. She obtained a LLM from Unisa in 2003. In 1995 she was appointed as a Military Law Officer till 1999 after which she was transferred to the Military Prosecution Counsel and has climbed the ranks to military judge in 2004 and Senior Military Judge from 2005 to 2011. Admiral Marivate’s CV demonstrates that she has extensive knowledge of and experience in the military and public administration having served in the SANDF for a period of just over 20 years. General Matanzima congratulates and welcomes Admiral Marivate as the first Deputy Military Ombud and wishes her success in her new role.