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Urgent court application for Alex man 'killed by soldiers' to continue

Application to join the case by the Fair and Equitable Society struck off

05 May 2020 - 15:37 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Soldiers have been accused of being heavy-handed in enforcing lockdown restrictions in SA's townships. File photo.
Soldiers have been accused of being heavy-handed in enforcing lockdown restrictions in SA's townships. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

The Pretoria high court on Tuesday struck off an application by the Fair and Equitable Society (FES) to join a court case lodged by the family of an Alexandra, Gauteng, man who was allegedly killed by soldiers during the lockdown.

Lodged by Collins Khosa’s family through advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, the FES application was struck off on the basis of lacking urgency.

The main application, however, was still continuing.

Attorney Wikus Steyl said the matter would continue on Wednesday morning.

He said the Khosas' application was for protection and prevention of further abuse and misconduct by soldiers.

Earlier, Khosa's family told the court they wanted the suspension of those involved in his death.

Ngcukaitobi told the court on Tuesday that soldiers and metro police who were involved in the alleged assault of Khosa should be suspended.

Khosa was allegedly beaten to death by soldiers who confronted him for drinking at his home on Good Friday. Members of the Johannesburg metro police (JMPD) are accused of standing by and doing nothing during the attack.

“The soldiers and JMPD who stood by when the crime was committed in their presence are still in their posts. It is intolerable that they are still roaming the streets with guns,” said Ngcukaitobi.

“Their identities are known. Ipid [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate] ran a sham investigation, but at least it went to the scene and pretended to investigate. The reality is that this is a huge cover-up. Suspend them to protect the public.”

He said in their inquiry into the Ekurhuleni metro — which apparently also had officers on the scene, he said — they received a response that read: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have immediately suspended the member.”

But this statement was not found in the answering affidavit of the JMPD.

“What we can deduce from this is that the soldiers and police officers are still in their posts,” said Ngcukaitobi.

A month later, neither the defence force nor the JMPD have committed to suspending the members.

The Khosa family is also seeking financial compensation for loss of support, trauma, shock, psychological assistance and medical expenses.

“They are protecting the soldiers rather than holding them accountable. A suspension pending an investigation is precautionary. [It means] get out of the office until we find out whether you did it or not. If you didn’t do it, come back to work,” said Ngcukaitobi.

He said that based on statements by the ministers of defence and police, they either did not understand the law or they did not care.

“It is the most important order we seek for the court to state what the law is, to show that whatever else has been suspended in this period, what has not been suspended is the rule of law.”

The matter is continuing.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said that the Khosa case was struck off the roll for lack of urgency, when this was not the case. The application by the Fair and Equitable Society was struck off, but the main application was not. The error is regretted.