SANDF members implicated in Collins Khosa's death not off the hook, says Mapisa-Nqakula
Pretoria - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Thursday said despite widespread media reports, soldiers accused of assaulting an Alexandra man, who later succumbed to his injures, are not off the hook yet.
The report of an internal military inquiry, attached to an affidavit which was handed to the Gauteng High Court, reportedly found that the soldiers cannot be held responsible for Collins Khosa's death.
“We were actually taken by surprise last night when we heard from the news that the report is in the hands of the media. All processes have not been exhausted in dealing with that issue.
"We have various entities with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) who are collaborating in conducting the investigation into this matter,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.
“Any suggestion that in fact the soldiers, if there are any soldiers, police officers, or whoever was implicated in the murder of the gentleman [Khosa] – it is a matter I do not want to comment on precisely because it is a matter which is still under investigation. It is a sub judice matter.
She said the court ruling, which ordered the suspension of the implicated officers was followed.
“That has been done. It is a correct decision. Anything which relates to whether this is a murder case or not, that is a matter which I would rather not comment on until all investigations have been concluded,” the defence minister said.
The military report allegedly stated that Khoza was "pushed” and “klapped” and “conscious and healthy when the security forces left”.
According to the SANDF report, an internal board of inquiry has concluded its investigation into the incident on 10 April and found that neither the SANDF nor the Joburg Metro Police were at fault.
This, in spite of a post mortem report stating that Khosa had died of blunt force trauma to the head. According to the SANDF report, there is no link between the injuries he sustained and the actions of the soldiers.
The affidavit and the inquiry's findings were handed to court following a judgment by Judge Hans Fabricius. Earlier the judge ordered that the internal investigations into Khosa's death had to be concluded and that a report of the findings be submitted to the court.
Last month, civil rights group #NotInMyName criticised the police and the SANDF following the death of the 40-year-old Khosa who was allegedly killed during a crackdown in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
#NotInMyName secretary-general Themba Masango said the police and the armed forces have been selective in their application of the law in the enforcement of the country's lockdown regulations.
“SAPS and SANDF conduct has regrettably been under scrutiny for enforcing the lockdown regulations based on race and class; [and] that poorer communities are the subject of the brutality and general violation of basic human rights.
"Consequently, the punishment for breaching lockdown regulations is not consistent across ordinary citizens and governmental leaders,” Masango said at the time.
"NotInMyName hereby condemns the behaviour of SANDF and SAPS during the national lockdown."
African News Agency (ANA)