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Military Ombud Act Under the Spotlight

October 28, 2021

Department of Defence

A review of the Military Ombud Act of 2012 to make provision for own initiative investigations is on the cards.

Military Ombud Lt Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo revealed this during an address at the 13th virtual International Conference of Ombuds Institutions for the Armed Forces held last week in Canberra, Australia.

Masondo highlighted the case of Collins Khoza who died in an interaction with South African National Defence Force members during the Covid-19 lockdown last year as a reason for reviewing the act.

In a statement, the defence department pointed out that, in its current form, the act does not allow the Military Ombud to initiate its own investigations unlike other government institutions such as Chapter 9 institutions.

Rather, the Office needs to wait for complainants to come forward with complaints.

Masondo declared that the challenges experienced during the Covid-19 lockdown “warrant a review of their mandate and operating procedures to identify and address possible shortcomings”.