File picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Itumeleng English/ African News Agency (ANA)

SANDF says Collins Khosa death inquiry won't be reopened, minister got it wrong

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 5, 2020

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says the defence force board's report into the possible culpability of its members in Collins Khosa's death is final.

The SANDF's confirmation of the report being final was contained in a report filed at the Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The defence force had been ordered to investigate the behaviour of SANDF members in the altercation that led to Khosa's death. Khosa had died following an altercation with SANDF and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department members.

Khosa's family believes his death was as a result of his assault by the security officers. The family had taken the matter to court to force the minister of defence and her department to look into the matter.

The High Court ruled in the family's favour and ordered that an internal investigation take place. That defence force board's internal investigation exonerated the SANDF members of any culpability in Khosa's death.

There was some confusion earlier this week following Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's appearance in Parliament, where she was quoted as saying the SANDF board report into Khosa's death had not been finalised.

On Friday, the SANDF confirmed that the report was final and the investigation would not be reopened.

"The board of inquiry was not convened by the minister and does not report to her and thus what was confirmed to the court is that the SANDF had completed its internal investigation within the stipulated time frames as per the court’s order.

"On 2 June 2020, while addressing the joint standing committee on defence, the minister stated that in her opinion there is no finalised board of inquiry investigation report as she was made to understand that the investigation had been referred back by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force and might be reopened for further investigation.

"This understanding has turned out not to be correct as the SANDF will not be reopening the board ofinquiry for further investigations. 

"The minister regrets any confusion that might have been caused by her address to the joint standing committee on defence and by the subsequent public reporting of her address to the joint standing committee."

The SANDF said the criminal investigation into Khosa's death was still pending. It said, meanwhile, the Military Ombud will conduct further investigations into Khosa matter.

"It is envisaged that the Military Ombud will conduct and conclude investigations in this regard and report within a period of eight weeks. 

"For these reasons, there is not yet a final word on the Khosa incident and any culpability that might be established for his death," SANDF said. 

Political Bureau

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