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What Is An Ombudsman?

An Ombudsman is:

  • A high public official
  • Appointed by the head of state in terms of the constitution and his tenure of office is four years

Duties and Functions of the Ombudsman

  • To receive and investigate complaints from aggrieved persons against government agencies and statutory corporations and /or officials and employees of such agencies and organizations.
  • To recommend remedial action where he finds a complaint justified;

The Ombudsman functions independently of government, and is not subject to the direction of any other person or authority in the performance of his functions.

Who May Complain to the Ombudsman?

Any person or a group of people may complain to the Ombudsman against the authorities referred to in section 135(2) of the Constitution, if they feel aggrieved by any action taken or not taken by such authority or a member thereof. One does not need to be a national of Lesotho to lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman.

Grounds for Complaints

In terms of the relevant sections of the Ombudsman Act 1996 a person can complain about the following:

  1. Injustice
  2. Maladministration
  3. Corruption
  4. Violation of fundamental human rights and freedom as laid out in the Constitution of Lesotho
  5. Practices that can lead to degradation, depletion, destruction or pollution of natural resources, environment or the ecosystem

Procedure for Lodging Complaints

Section 8 of the Ombudsman Act 1996 provides that a complaint may be made to the Ombudsman in writing and should contain:

  • The substance of the complaint
  • The name of the authority complained against
  • The date of the cause of complaint
  • The name and address of the complainant
  • The signature of the complainant (to be appended to the letter of complaint)

It needs particular emphasis that the Ombudsman is not approached immediately a cause of complaint arises. A complainant must first complain to the authorities of the agency that has aggrieved him or her, and exhaust all the available remedies within the agency. Only when such remedies have been exhausted or complainant is still dissatisfied that a complaint may be taken to the Ombudsman.

The Benefits of Using the Ombudsman’s Office

By making use of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Public has a say on the type of services it gets; therefore, it is to its advantage that it makes use of the Ombudsman’s Office, so that democracy has a meaning to it.

The Ombudsman charges nothing for the services rendered by his office. By using the Office, the Public avoid the costly court litigation.

Through his investigations and reports to Parliament, the Ombudsman is able to bring light to the dark corners of bureaucracy, where ordinary citizens, and even the rulers are otherwise unable to see. This helps to promote transparency and accountability by government administration and other public authorities.

The Ombudsman’s recommendations always based on his investigative findings and simple observation, contribute to the enhancement of good governance.

Is it True that you Serve only Civil Servants?

No. We serve anybody who is agrieved by a decision or action of a public agancy or authority.

How Long Does it Take to Resolve a Case?

It all depends on the nature of the case. some are simple but others are complicated. a simple and straightforward case may be solved in minutes by telephone.