Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ombudsman Office?

The office of the Ombudsman is an independent complaints handling institution that was established in terms of the Namibian Constitution. It investigates corruption and mal-administration, human rights violations and the over-utilisation of natural resources, upon receiving a complaint relating thereto. The Ombudsman also plays an important role in the promotion of democracy and good governance.

What do people at the Office of the Ombudsman do?

They investigate, free of charge, complaints against:

  • Government Institutions
  • Parastatals
  • Municipalities
  • Private persons and institutions (only where it concerns Human Rights violations)

The Office of the Ombudsman can look into complaints relating to:

  • Administrative unfairness
  • Human rights violations
  • Over-utilisation of natural resources
  • Corruption

Some Common Complaints Received Regularly, but Which the Office Cannot Investigate

A decision taken by a Court of Law cannot be looked into (including to establish whether or not a person is guilty of a crime, whether or not the sentence imposed by the Court is fair, etc.).
Disputes/problems between private individuals and/or companies cannot be investigated, even if they are work related (also including marital problems, private insurance, problems with neighbors etc.)
The Office cannot secure employment on behalf of complainants, nor can the Office assist complainants financially.
The Office cannot represent a complainant in Court in terms of criminal or civil proceedings.

Although the office may not be in a position to investigate a matter it will always refer you to an institution which may be able to assist you.

What to expect if you have made a complaint or requested information/advice:

Your personal information as well as the details of the matter will be logged in a computerised case management system so that the information cannot get lost.
The matter will be investigated by one of the Office officials
Your complaint will be treated confidentially and will only be discussed with relevant persons during the course of the investigation
If the Office finds that the complaint is justified, the institution or person complained against will be requested to rectify the matter and if it is found that the complaint is not justified, you will be informed accordingly
You will always receive written or telephonic feedback from the Office if you have made a complaint
If you have requested information/advice from the Office, the information will either be given immediately if possible, or obtained by the official assisting you and forwarded to you in writing or telephonically

It may take a long time before a matter is resolved because a lot of complaints are received and investigations are sometimes delayed because information requested is not forwarded immediately.