Civil rights organisation calls for 'prompt, thorough, transparent' investigation into Collins Khosa's death
The C-19 People’s Coalition has rejected the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) board of inquiry's findings that there was no link between Collins Khosa's death and the soldiers he reportedly had an altercation with.
“The C-19 People's Coalition is deeply concerned by the report of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Board of Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Mr Collins Khosa.
“The SANDF members responsible for Mr Khosa’s death must be held accountable as a matter of justice, to prevent a repetition of these abuses and to restore trust in the security forces,” the organisation said.
Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told a news conference at the end of May that she was surprised by news reports on the board's finding. The investigation had not been finalised, and was in fact ongoing, she said.
On June 3, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans said in a statement it had been advised that the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans was still to be furnished with the SANDF’s report on the inquiry into Khoza's death.
The committee said according to Mapisa-Nqakula, the report submitted to the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, was sent back to the Board of Inquiry as the terms of reference had not fully been met. “As a result of this, the ministry has not yet received the report on the inquiry as reported in the media.”
On May 15, the high court in Pretoria ordered that pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings, all SANDF members who were present at or adjacent to Khoza's home in Far East Bank, Alexandra, on April 10, be placed on precautionary suspension on full pay.
The SANDF board of inquiry found that the confrontation between Khosa, 40, his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango and soldiers in Alexandra on April 10 had not led to his death when considering the postmortem report, and therefore the officers involved and the state were not liable for his death.
“Other members of the security forces including SAPS, Metro Police and private security, who have broken the law in a similar fashion must also be brought to book. Without this, the family are left to bear the incalculable cost of losing a loved one in such a brutal manner,” the coalition said.
“The SANDF Board of Inquiry’s report has exonerated the SANDF, finding that there was no connection between the soldiers' actions and Mr Khosa’s death.
“The C-19 People’s Coalition rejects this deplorable attempt by the SANDF to shift blame and charge the late Mr Khosa for his own death.”
The coalition said it was disturbing that the SANDF board of inquiry failed to speak to “key” witnesses and other family victims and chose to submit to court a report that lacks any objectivity.
“It is alarming that the Chief of SANDF Joint Operations, Lt Gen Mphwanya, allowed this report to be submitted to a court in the name of the SANDF.
“It shows that a closing of ranks is endorsed at the highest level of the SANDF,” the coalition alleged. “This report is an insult to the Khosa family and to all South Africans and deserves to be dismissed with contempt.”
The organisation has called for an urgent, independent and “transparent” investigation into Khosa's death.
“The family has a right, in terms of international law, to an investigation that is prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent.”