Soldiers, police 'not responsible for death of Collins Khosa': SANDF inquiry

28 May 2020 - 11:53 By Iavan Pijoos
An inquiry found that 'the cause of the incident was gender inequality and provocation, specifically lack of respect towards female soldiers by two men'.
An inquiry found that 'the cause of the incident was gender inequality and provocation, specifically lack of respect towards female soldiers by two men'.
Image: Alaister Russell

A lack of respect towards female soldiers and provocation were cited by a SANDF board of inquiry as the cause of a lockdown altercation before the death of Collins Khosa in Alexandra, Johannesburg.  

The board of inquiry found that soldiers and Johannesburg metro police who were  accused of killing Khosa at his home could not be held liable for his death.

It found that: “The cause of the incident was gender inequality and provocation, specifically lack [of] respect towards female soldiers by two men.”

The board recommended that programmes “should be developed to educate our citizen [sic] on gender equality specifically on security forces”.

SANDF legal adviser Elvis Hobyana attached the findings of the inquiry to an explanatory affidavit filed with the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria earlier this week.

Khosa, 40, died on April 10, allegedly after an altercation with soldiers and Johannesburg metro police.

Khosa's life partner Nomsa Montsha stated in an affidavit that she was at home with him and two others when the soldiers arrived, accusing them of violating the lockdown regulations.

Montsha said Khosa was taken outside the property, where soldiers poured beer over his head, slammed him against a cement wall, kicked, slapped and punched him.

He died a few hours later.

The military board of inquiry opened its proceeding on April 14.

It did not conduct oral interviews with Khosa’s family, instead relying on statements from the police docket and affidavits from the defence force's legal services division made under oath.

In the report it was found that the argument started between Khosa’s brother in-law, Thabiso Muvhanga, and a female soldier on Good Friday. Khosa later joined the argument.

A second female soldier intervened in a bid to diffuse the situation.

According to the probe, the two men “did not comply” and undermined the two female soldiers. A group of around 10 soldiers arrived to assist.

“The attitude of these two men was provocative.

“On arrival of the members, the argument still persisted and the two men were forced to comply.

“The force used was pushing and clapping [sic] in order for the men to comply with the instruction. Eventually the men complied and went back into the house,” the board said.  

On April 10, a murder case was opened at the Alexandra police station. A postmortem found that Khosa had died of a blunt force head injury.

The board acknowledged that the postmortem report was compiled by a junior pathologist who was not supervised and that the findings contained some contradictions and shortcomings.

The board said the conduct of a police sergeant who opened a murder docket, instead of an inquest docket, was “unacceptable”.

The board said none of the witnesses mentioned “the vomiting of Mr Khosa, including the postmortem report contrary to the founding affidavit”.

The board concluded that Khosa was “conscious and healthy” when security forces left.

“The deceased had a small cut above left eye, a scratch on the left leg underneath the knee and no other injuries were identified by the pathologist.

“The injuries on the body of Mr Khosa cannot be linked with the cause of death. Consequently, the board concluded that the death of Mr Khosa was not caused by SANDF members nor JMPD.”


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