The Ombudsman said his office was ready to assist the aggrieved stemming from the conduct of troops as they assist the police in patrolling residential areas during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
“We noted that the Ministry of Defence released a statement taking note of various allegations of abuse by deployed members of the South African National Defence Force who are supporting government’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic,” the office said.
However, communities need to be informed of the existence of the Ombudsman’s office and the assistance they can get from it when a need to lodge a complaint should arise, South African Military Ombudsman Vusumuzi Masondo said.
“Our job is to make sure that complaints that come through our office are handled professionally, and rights of citizens of the country are protected without compromise,” he said.
Masondo’s comments come as both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula this week condemned the abuse allegedly committed by the soldiers during this first week of the lockdown.
The two leaders’ remarks followed various allegations last week of abuse by troops deployed in support of government efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic in residential areas.
South Africa is on its seventh day of the lockdown designed to contain the pandemic outbreak from spreading nationwide.