Crackdown on sex attacks in army
SEXUAL harassment will no longer be tolerated within the SANDF.
This reaffirmed commitment comes after a ministerial task team held a meeting with the SA Military Ombudsman over the matter.
The meeting, led by Military Ombudsman Lieutenant-General Vusumuzi Masondo and chairperson Thoko Mpumlwana, was convened to get a better understanding of the mandate of the Military Ombud office and touch on the issue of its co-operation with the task team.
Masondo said the meeting was imperative as they were both tasked with the responsibility of protecting the basic human rights of those serving in the military.
“Our office will continue to play a meaningful role in making sure that the fundamental rights of those who serve are continually protected.”
Military Ombud spokesperson Nthombikayise Mdluli Jacha said the main thing now was to provide the necessary information to members in need of help about who to speak to and where to go.
She said this would be done through roadshows and posting of the hotline number for contact.
The decision by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to launch the task team in December followed alarming statistics which revealed the high prevalence of gender-based violence in the army.
The statistics indicated that sexual assault of military personnel was rife in barracks, as indicated by personnel who attended a conference at Air Force Base Swartkop to deal with the reports of sexual assaults.
The report that emerged from the conference painted a bleak picture of how women were being sexually victimised by their colleagues and commanders.
The four-person task team is investigating about 41 cases of sexual harassment in the military.
The Military Ombud was created in 2012 to investigate complaints by current and former members on their conditions of services.
Members of the public can also approach the office to lodge a complaint on the official conduct of a member of the SANDF.