Protector advises new military ombud

2012-05-14 18:01

Pretoria - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has urged the newly-appointed military ombudsman not to hesitate to make objective decisions against the SA National Defence Force.

"Being a member of the family... do not treat the defence community as a mafia," she said at a swearing-in ceremony for Lieutenant General Themba Mathanzima, held at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria.

"In the mafia if you are a member of the family. You do not make decisions against family. Family is always right in the mafia," she said.

"I hope that that will not be the case with you. If you do that you will render this office not an ombud office, but a lapdog."

She said she had recommended to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to have "a military person" appointed to handle grievances in the armed forces.

Former president Nelson Mandela's grandson Mandla Mandela, United Democratic Front leader Bantu Holomisa and many senior military officials attended Monday's ceremony.

May refuse to investigate

Mathanzima was sworn in by Judge Francis Legodi of the North Gauteng High Court.

Defence secretary Sam Gulube said at the event the ombud's brief was to investigate all complaints raised internally by members of the defence force.

"He will not be investigating matters raised in the media or other platforms," said Gulube.

"The military ombud may not investigate a complaint relating to the manner in which a military judge performs his or her functions as a judge. Very importantly, the ombud may refuse to investigate a complaint if the investigation may undermine channels of command in the defence force."

Mathanzima pledged that all complaints raised within the SANDF would be investigated impartially and expeditiously, without fear, favour or prejudice.

"This office is not be feared or perceived as a threat to the defence force, but should exist as an example of proper governance and accountability.

"It is an office that will empower members of the defence force to direct their grievances using proper channels."

- SAPA

Read more on:    lindiwe sisulu  |  thuli madonsela  |  military
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