The Military Ombud Office was launched in 2012 to deal with complaints from Defence Force members.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new offices, Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla said he was hopeful that the Office of the Ombudsman will deal with all the grievances of the soldiers.
“The absence of a Military Ombud in our military has invariable disadvantaged our soldiers.
“Through the existence of the Office of the Military Ombud, we hope to harmonize the confluence between military discipline and recourse avenues for complaints and grievances in a manner that is consistent with our democratic establishment,” he said.
According to the department, the Military Ombudsman will investigate complaints and serve as a neutral third party on matters related to the Department of Defence and the South African National Defence Force, acting independently of the chain of command and managers.
It is envisaged that the Ombudsman, who will hold office for a period of seven years, will address any military personnel matters which cannot be resolved through other existing mechanisms.
Makwetla said the Military Ombud was a soldiers’ appeal office for internal military grievance management processes.
“I wish to emphasise that it is a carefully considered extension of well-established conventional frontiers of military culture in a democracy, consistent with contemporary demands for due process,” he said.
He said the idea of a Military Ombud was initially contemplated in the first White Paper on Defence post 1994 as an independent external mechanism to deal with soldiers’ complaints and grievances, as well as a place for the public to lodge complaints about actions of the soldiers.
Since the establishment of the Office of the Ombud, the office has received a total of 308 complaints from soldiers. Ninety-two cases have been finalised and 68 are on termination of benefits lisinopril 10 mg tablet.
According to Lieutenant-General Mathanzima, most of the complaints from soldiers were related to salaries and promotions.
Mathanzima said some of the cases that were reported to his office were referred back because the complainants did not follow proper procedures.
“Those are matters that can be dealt with by the department,” he said.
According to the Department of Military Veterans, the Office of the Ombudsman will also act as a direct source of information, referral and education.
It will help members of the defence community navigate a large and complex organisation in order to access existing channels of assistance or redress when they have a complaint or concern. – SAnews.gov.za