Collins Khosa: ‘We saw soldiers assaulting him,’ say new witnesses in Ipid report

10 June 2020 - 11:02
By Iavan Pijoos
Murder victim Collins Khosa's wife, Nomsa Montsha, and his children Wisani and Gift paying their last respects to him at his grave in Mawa village outside Tzaneen in April.
Image: Peter Ramothwala Murder victim Collins Khosa's wife, Nomsa Montsha, and his children Wisani and Gift paying their last respects to him at his grave in Mawa village outside Tzaneen in April.

Neighbours of the Khosa family said they had seen soldiers assaulting Collins Khosa and his brother-in-law at their Alexandra home as new details of the assault emerge.

This is contained in a report on an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) into the death of Khosa.

Ipid has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against five Johannesburg metro police officers involved in the incident. The directorate also recommended that two SAPS officers undergo disciplinary processes for contravention of the police's disciplinary regulations.

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

Khosa's life partner, Nomsa Montsha, stated in an affidavit previously that she was at home with him and two others when 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, and kicked, slapped and punched him. He died a few hours later.

Ipid investigators conducted interviews with witnesses including Montsha, four additional witnesses, five JMPD officers and three police officers.

Two neighbours told the Ipid task team that they had seen soldiers assaulting Khosa and his brother-in-law, Thabiso Muvhango.

One witness said that she took video footage of the incident but soldiers took her to a JMPD bus where she was assaulted and forced to delete the footage. A second witness said he too was assaulted after soldiers saw him recording the incident.

The two witnesses claimed that after being assaulted, they were forced into a JMPD bus and taken to Alexandra Mall.

They claimed that they were then forced into an army truck where soldiers continued assaulting them.

In one of the statements, a JMPD officer said he drove the soldiers and the two “civilians” to the mall where the soldiers' truck was parked and he left.

The witnesses said they were later dropped off at Linksfield off-ramp and their phones were thrown into the bush.

Another witness said a male JMPD officer told her to “run to your house”.

All witnesses in the Ipid report claimed that JMPD officers stood by while soldiers were handing out the beatings.

A witness, who sat in his yard fixing his hotplate stove, told the Ipid task team he saw soldiers pouring beer over Khosa.

According to Muvhango’s statement, the family was having supper when soldiers entered the Khosa home.

He claimed that a female soldier came to him and said he was drinking and they “want people like him”.

They also demanded beers from both him and Khosa while calling for backup.

Muvhango said metro police officers waited on the street while soldiers assaulted them with open hands.

He demanded the soldiers arrest him, but instead they pushed him towards the JMPD vehicle on the street.

The soldiers continued to assault them in “full view” of the JMPD officers.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said they were aware of the Ipid report involving their officers and an internal investigation was under way.

“As this case is sub judice, hence it is under judicial consideration, and therefore is prohibited from public discussion. The investigation by JMPD's internal affairs unit is ongoing,” he said.

The SAPS was not immediately available for comment.