Pretoria - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Monday said his party was instituting a court challenge to ensure that the South African government paid compensation for the killing of Johannesburg man Collins Khosa, and others killed by armed forces and police during the country's Covid-19 lockdown.
“We never wanted to tell this story, but we will tell you today. There are many other stories we have in the EFF that we don’t make noise about. We have moved into the family and gave them the lawyers that are going to work with them, to fight this government that killed a black man,” Malema told a crowd of supporters protesting under the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter at the United States embassy in Pretoria.
“We are now proceeding to sue the government. Leave that report of the military which said the soldiers are not at fault. It is friends trying to please each other. We will meet them in a neutral court of law. They ...will pay his family.”
The EFF protesters, led by Malema, party treasurer-general Omphile Maotwe, and secretary-general Marshall Dlamini, were joined by Khosa’s family, including Khosa’s widow Nomsa Montsha.
Malema vowed that everyone that was hurt by the “nonsensical acts of the military” during the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, would be compensated.
“We have assembled the best legal minds in South Africa, quietly, to help [the Khosa] family. We have also buried Khosa ourselves. We paid for the mortuary, we removed the body from here to be buried at home. We are not only with this family today because there is a hashtag #BlackLives Matter. In the EFF, black lives matter every day.”
Last month, the high court ordered the suspension of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers and Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers who were allegedly involved in the fatal beating of Khosa, pending an investigation.
The military's internal investigation into Khosa's death exonerated those implicated. The police are, however, conducting their own investigation.
Monday's protest got off to a heated start as Malema claimed that “racist” embassy security tried to stop the protesters from kneeling in front of the embassy.
“Those guards feel that they are superior [to] parliamentarians because they are white. They have no regard for African leaders. For those white [US embassy] staff to respect us, we must own the land so that when we come here, they know that the landlord has arrived. This is our land,” Malema charged.