SA democracy maturing: Sisulu

2012-05-14 22:27
Pretoria - South Africa's democracy and citizens' awareness of their right to seek recourse over grievances has continued to gain strength since 1994, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Monday.

She was addressing delegates at the swearing-in ceremony of the country's newly-appointed military ombudsman at the Thaba Tshwane military base in Pretoria.

"Today, our soldiers have a greater sense of their right to recourse for grievance procedures than they did in 1994. Our defence force institutions have changed substantially," she said.

Former acting chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Lieutenant General Themba Mathanzima was sworn in by Judge Francis Legodi of the North Gauteng High Court.

The Military Ombud Act was passed by Parliament in March after it was tabled in June 2011.

Quality of life

"The ombud is mandated to improve the quality of life for members of the national defence force. We hope to achieve this with the appropriate cost," Sisulu said.

She said she had taken Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendation to have "a person associated with the culture and practice of the military" to handle complaints from the military.

Earlier, Madonsela told the gathering that Mathanzima should not hesitate to make objective decisions against the SANDF.

"Being a member of the family... do not treat the defence community as a mafia," she said.

"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."

Without fear, favour or prejudice

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

"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," he said.

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

"This office is not to 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."
Read more on:    sandf  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  military


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

6 ways to stay safe at home and on the road 2015-03-27 15:39

These Easter holidays, take these precautions to keep your home and family safe.


The Fast and Furious R40 million

With the Fast and the Furious 7 hitting South African cinema’s this April, all eyes are on the cars and we’re in for a treat!


Luxury living

This is the most expensive burger in the world!
Exclusive food items that WILL break the bank
Top 10 most expensive homes in the world
You can permanently live on a ship and sail the world!
Traffic Alerts

You may find yourself drawn into investigating, researching or digging below the surface to get to the bottom of something. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.