ATT: ALL NEWS EDITORS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: 20 August 2020
MILITARY OMBUD CONCLUDES INVESTIGATION INTO THE OFFICIAL CONDUCT OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE IN RELATION TO THEIR INTERACTION WITH THE KHOSA FAMILY AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC IN ALEXANDRA DURING LOCKDOWN.
The Office of the Military Ombud has completed the investigation into the conduct of the members of the SANDF in relation to their interaction with the Khosa family and other members of the public in Alexandra during the Lockdown. The Military Ombud was assigned by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans to conduct the investigation in terms of section 6 (11) of the Military Ombud Act 4 of 2012.
In early August, the Office of the Military Ombud completed the investigation and submitted the report with findings and recommendations to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. Lt Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo said “he is pleased that his Office managed to conclude the investigation within the timeframe set by the Minister”.
The Military Ombud investigation was an administrative inquiry into the conduct of members of the SANDF which is separate from the criminal investigation that is conducted by the South African Police Service.
In summary, the Office found that the official conduct of these SANDF members was improper, irregular and in contravention of the Code of Conduct, Operational Order and Rules of Engagement. We also found that the Platoon Commander failed to command the Platoon in line with Command Orders.
The investigation conducted by the Military Ombud is an independent investigation in terms of the Military Ombud Act. The Office is mandated to conduct investigations without fear, favour or prejudice. It is generally accepted that allegations of misconduct against members of the SANDF while conducting official duties, including official duties performed during the Lockdown, fall under the ambit of “official conduct of a member” for the purposes of section 4(1) (c) of the Act.
Masondo said the investigations into other complaints are ongoing. So far, the Office has received 32 complaints from members of the public against members of the SANDF since the beginning of Lockdown. These complaints are at different stages of investigation. In cases where there was a joint operation the law enforcement agencies concerned do conduct their own investigation into the conduct of their members.