Lt Gen Matanzima briefs media on case statistics

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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

 

 

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