The death of Alexandra resident Collins Khosa looks set to continue being an unwanted burden for Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The latest development comes, not unexpectedly, from the Democratic Alliance (DA), with two of the party’s MPs asking for an urgent review of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) board of inquiry (BOI) report.
Kobus Marais, the party’s shadow defence and military veterans minister and the first person to report the Easter weekend death to the Military Ombud, has found a willing ally in shadow police minister Andrew Whitfield.
In a joint statement the pair said: “Based on glaring contradictions between the IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate) report and the internal investigation by the SANDF BOI [Board of Inquiry] the DA requests an urgent meeting of the joint standing committees on Police and Defence to review both reports.
“Minister Mapisa-Nqakula must explain to both committees why the national defence force’s investigation into the incident differs so wildly from what IPID found.
“The reports could not be more different. The IPID investigation recommends the five metro police officers who stood and watched as soldiers allegedly brutally attacked Khosa should face disciplinary action. The SANDF report absolves soldiers of any wrongdoing.
“The IPID report simply brings to light what the SANDF tried hard to cover up.
“The violent actions of soldiers led to Khosa’s death in full view of his family and neighbours. No remorse was shown. Not on that night when soldiers entered his house without cause and attacked him, not when the Johannesburg metro police intimidated witnesses and confiscated footage of the heinous actions, not when they watched him die. And not since!
“The IPID report exposes that the SANDF did nothing but try and cover their tracks. Neither the Minister and her Department, nor the national defence force, told the truth. The soldiers face no repercussions and it is shown they are seen to be above the law.
“Police and the army are there to serve and protect citizens. They failed to do that for Collins Khosa and his family. They failed countless other South Africans. And they will continue to fail, because their superiors would rather save face than discipline them for disgraceful actions.
“It is now time for the Minister to account to Parliament. Both reports need urgent reviewing,” their statement ends.
Khosa died on 10 April after soldiers confronted him and his brother-in-law after apparently finding a glass of alcohol in his yard. The soldiers confiscated two beers from their house and an argument started after one slammed the gate on Khosa’s car.
The SANDF said Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango undermined the female soldiers based on their gender and did not adhere to instructions so they called for back-up, resulting in a scuffle to get the men back into the house.
Multiple witnesses said Khosa was assaulted by soldiers and those who tried to record the alleged assault told IPID soldiers either took their phones or forced them to delete footage, Daily Maverick reported.
The Military Ombud is investigating Khosa’s death.