The South African Military Ombud Office says it has received 28 complaints to date since the start of the national lockdown.
At least 15 of the complaints are from the public alleging that South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members were using excessive force and physical abuse during their lockdown patrols, while others are from serving members themselves concerning their conditions of service.
The ombudsman released these numbers in the wake of the recent death of an Alexandra man who was allegedly assaulted by members of SANDF.
Some of the ombudsman’s mandate is to deal with complaints and grievances brought by current and former members of the force as well as complaints from members of the public about the conduct of SANDF members.
“The office would like to reiterate that those who want to lodge a complaint are advised to provide a description of the incident including date, time and place of incident. They should include the name or names of soldiers involved (which is visible on their name tags on their uniform). [They should also have] names and contact particulars of witnesses to the incident and recordings of the incident if available,” it said in a statement on Sunday.
Military ombud Lieutenant-General Vusumuzi Masondo lamented the importance for the public to provide all necessary details.
“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.”
Speaking during a media briefing on the amendment of regulations for the national lockdown last week Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the police, military police and the military ombudsman were investigating the circumstances that led to the death of the Alexandra man.
According to reports by IOL, witnesses and the deceased’s family said Khoza was assaulted for drinking in a yard with a friend. This after soldiers reportedly noticed a camp chair and a half-full cup of liquor at his friend’s property.