Friday, 21 August 2020

Pretoria: The Office of the Military Ombud has found that the official conduct of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members was improper, irregular and in contravention of the Code of Conduct, Operational Orders and Rules of Engagement in their interaction with the Khosa family and other members of the public in Alexandra during the lockdown.

Collins Khosa was killed at his home in April.

“We also found that the Platoon Commander failed to command the platoon, in line with Command Orders,” said Military Ombud Lt Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo.

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.

Earlier this month, the Office of the Military Ombud submitted its report, with findings and recommendations, to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.

The investigation was an administrative inquiry into the conduct of members of the SANDF, which is separate from the criminal investigation conducted by the South African Police Service.

The investigation conducted by the Military Ombud is an independent investigation, in terms of the Military Ombud Act.

Masondo, meanwhile, said 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 conduct their own investigation into the conduct of their members.

The Military Ombud has appealed to members of the public, who lodge complaints with his office, to do so in writing, using the prescribed Complaint Form, which can be obtained from www.milombud.org.

The Military Ombud 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.

The Office of the Military Ombud can be reached via intake@milombud.org, WhatsApp 012 676 3800.