by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
PRETORIA – OPERATIONAL challenges besetting his office would not deter the South African Military Ombudsman embracing democratic governance, the Ombud, Lieutenant General (Ret) Temba Matanzima, said.
He made the pledge in the capital Pretoria on Wednesday during the Ombud’s annual symposium.
The event was also held to mark six years since the formation of the office to investigate and ensure that complaints against the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) are resolved in a fair, economical and expeditious manner.
Matanzima’s office is also entrusted with the responsibility of investigating complaints brought by members of the SANDF aggrieved with their conditions of service, as well as probing complaints brought by members of the public against the official conduct of SANDF personnel.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the journey of providing oversight has not always been smooth due to operational challenges experienced by my Office,” Matanzima said in his welcome address.
He however said together with his dedicated staff, they relentlessly continued to pursue the ethos of democratic good governance while recognising and respecting the internal processes of the Department of Defence.
“Such participatory development is geared towards objectively and transparently providing a systematic complaints resolution mechanism in order to alleviate maladministration and its costly consequences within our armed forces,” Matanzima said.
He said in that regard, the Ombuds office consistently reached out all stakeholders through its outreach programmes, engaged Chiefs of Services, participated in local, regional and international forums and seminal events to bolster the understanding of their mandate and improve on existing complaints-handling mechanism.
“Though we are proud of what we have achieved over the last six years, we are aware there is still a lot of work to be done to realise our vision,” Matanzima said.
His office reported that in the last financial year, of the 43 reports with recommendations submitted to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, only six are awaiting implementation by the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Zacharia Shoke
“We are therefore committed, together with the Minister of Defence to promote a culture of good governance within the SANDF through our investigation processes and recommendations for redress,” Matanzima said.
Matanzima meanwhile paid his office’s tribute to former President Nelson Mandela as the nation celebrated the centenary of the birth.
Mandela was acknowledged as the first commander-in-chief of the SANDF.
“As an institution we are also committed to live Madiba’s legacy and ensure we are mindful of the values of ubuntu, fairness, justice and selfless service to develop an accountable and transparent government.”
Among attendees in Pretoria were Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane; Judge Bernard Ngoepe, Chaplain General Monwabisi Jamangile; Chief of Army, General Lindile Yam, and Members of the Defence Service Commission.
– CAJ News