WATCH: Circumstances surrounding death of SA soldier killed in DRC unknown
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Pretoria - The circumstances surrounding the untimely death of a South African soldier, Corporal Simanga Authur Khuselo, who was shot dead on June 3 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are still unknown.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said a board of inquiry will investigate the circumstances surrounding the death with a view to getting more details about what happened on the day when Khuselo, 34, was killed in an operation in Kilia, in eastern DRC.
She was speaking during a military ceremony at Air Force Base Waterkloof, where Khuselo's mortal remains were handed over to his family.
Mapisa-Nqakula said: "What we know is that this soldier is among those who were deployed as part of the force intervention brigade. The force intervention brigade consists of three countries - South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi. In the course of the deployment there was something which happened and that is why it is called friendly fire," she said.
The department, she said, was also waiting to receive information from Monusco, a United Nations peacekeeping force in the DRC.
"So we must first receive a report from Munusco, but our own people will also be moving on to the DRC. We will have our own inquiry so that we get details about what may have happened on that day."
Mapisa-Nqakula said usually the reports of the board of inquiry were meant to assist the department to control its own internal control and systems.
She was not in a position to divulge the exact time frame of the investigation, however, she said the process shouldn't take a long time to be concluded.
The sombre occasion was attended by the deceased's wife Carlifornia, who broke down when a group of soldiers carried a coffin into a hearse that transported it to Phomolong Zastron in the Free State province, where he will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Mapisa-Nqakula, who was accompanied by her deputy Thabang Makwetla, expressed her heartfelt condolences to the family and pleaded with the media to give them a space to grieve.
"For now we also want to appeal to all of you to give a family space to grieve and any inquiry should be directed to the Department of Defence. Obviously we are sad and it is a painful moment."
She said every time soldiers were deployed there was always hope that they should come back alive to the country.
"But of course in a war situation such as where they are deployed we also expect that the worst can happen. We don't want to lose a single soldier. It is not our wish, but when it does happen we then say a soldier died with his boots on and may his soul rest in peace," Mapisa-Nqakula said.
Khuselo joined the South African National Defence Force on January 11, 2010 and did his basic military training at 1 Tactical Intelligence Regiment in Potchefstroom.
He served under the SA Army Intelligence Formation units after successfully completing basic military training.
On July 1 2016, he was promoted to the rank of a Lance Corporal, whereafter he was again promoted to the rank of Corporal on January 1 2019.
He completed all his SA Army intelligences courses as well as a military instructor course, parachute static line selection, basic static line course, air assault, combat life support and special force basic ambulance assistant.