Military ombud to promote better SANDF

The first military ombudsman says his office will help run a better defence force.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

PRETORIA - Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Monday described the new military ombudsman as an appeal office to deal with internal military grievances.

South Africa's first military ombudsman Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima was sworn in by Judge Francis Legodi at Thaba Tshwane in Pretoria.

In March, Parliament passed the Military Ombudsman Bill allowing for the establishment of this office.

Sisulu said the ombudsman will contribute to a better managed South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

"The military ombud will independently investigate complaints lodged fairly and expeditiously, without fear, favour or prejudice."

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Sisulu is also bound by Matanzima's recommendations.

"If you're not happy with the decisions of the ombud, you will have to take him to court. It means when he speaks or pronounces, he will implement [his decisions] with immediate effect."

Madonsela said Matanzima is a skilled man who commands respect.

The protector was instrumental in the formation of the office.

Meanwhile, Mantazima said his office will also help manage the SANDF and should not be seen as a threat.

"We will exist as an example of proper governance and accountability. It will be an office that will empower members of the defence force."