Coronavirus: SA Military Ombud has received 33 complaints against soldiers since start of lockdown

Members of SANDF in Manenberg.
Members of SANDF in Manenberg.
Rodger Bosch, AFP

The Office of the South African Military Ombud says it has received a total of 33 complaints since the start of lockdown. 

This as the level 5 lockdown, which started on 27 March, comes to an end on Thursday. Level 4, which will see limited economic activity and the easing of some movement, kicks off from Friday morning. 

According to Military Ombud spokesperson Nthombikayise Mdluli Jacha, 20 of the complaints received were from members of the public, including a Member of Parliament about the conduct of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during lockdown operations. 

The office said the other complaints were from members of the SANDF itself concerning conditions of their service. 

All the grievances had been registered, allocated reference numbers and assessed in line with the Military Ombud Regulations.

Two weeks ago, the office said it had received 28 complaints, News24 previously reported.

The office serves as an alternative dispute resolution platform outside of the Department of Defence.

ALSO READ: SANDF to probe video of soldier allegedly punching man during Cape Flats op

"In the event that the Office does not have jurisdiction over a complaint, it is referred to the relevant body, for example, a complaint on police brutality was referred to IPID," Jacha said.

The office advises those who may want to lodge complaints to provide description of incidents, including dates, time and places where they took place. Producing the name of the member - which are visible on their uniforms - is also important, as well as names and contact details of witnesses. 

Videos and recordings may also be submitted as evidence to the Military Ombud. 

"It is imperative for members of the public to provide all the necessary details to assist investigators to conduct a thorough investigation before making recommendations to the minister.

"The Military Ombud may recommend the implementation of any appropriate course of action to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans that will provide appropriate relief to the complainant."  

Several cases of brutality against members of public by law enforcement officers, including the army, were reported on during the full-blown lockdown. 

An Alexandra man was also killed after allegedly being assaulted by members of SANDF

The family of Collins Khosa will now approach the Gauteng High Court after the Constitutional Court dismissed their direct access application.

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