Collins Khosa death: Family's lawyer slams SANDF inquiry report as a 'sham'

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SANDF members during lockdown operations. (ER Lombard/Gallo Images)
SANDF members during lockdown operations. (ER Lombard/Gallo Images)

The legal team representing the family of Collins Khosa has rejected an inquiry report by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which cleared soldiers of causing Khosa's death.

"The report by the SANDF is rubbish. We do not accept it, the evidence completely contradicts this report. It is ridiculous to say he died of some other cause," Wikus Steyl, of Ian Levitt Attorneys, told News24 on Thursday.

This comes after the SANDF probe cleared the soldiers, finding that they could not be held liable for the 40-year-old's death because there was no link between the injuries he sustained due to their actions and his death.

READ: SANDF probe clears soldiers of killing Collins Khosa, saying he was only 'pushed and clapped'

The board, led by Brigadier Viscount Ngcobo, found that Khosa and his brother-in-law, Thabiso Muvhango, undermined the female soldiers who approached them about drinking alcohol in their yard.

Report

The report did not expand or explain whether the soldiers had acted outside of their authority by addressing the men, who were drinking on private property.

Steyl said the inquiry - and its outcome - was merely a way for the SANDF to comply with the recent high court judgment on the matter.

"The family was definitely not interviewed by the SANDF for this inquiry. [It was] relying on the statements filed by the authorities, which does not make sense. It's a sham report, it cannot be legitimate.

READ | Here's how people can report wrongdoing by cops during lockdown

"The SANDF just pretended to do an investigation to comply with the judgment," he explained.

The inquiry notes in its report that it did not interview Khosa's relatives, relying only on the affidavits they filed with the police as part of their investigation.

Steyl further added the family was in disbelief that what they witnessed on that fateful day was being dismissed.

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria recently heard the matter in an urgent application after the 40-year-old was allegedly beaten to death by members of the SANDF in Alexandra, Johannesburg, in March.

Illegal action

News24 earlier reported that lawyers on behalf of the family argued the ministers of police and defence had failed to take steps to prevent illegal action by law enforcement officials, adding their public statement "defended, downplayed and encouraged the use of force".

Judge Hans Fabricius ruled in favour of Khosa's family, finding that the right to dignity, life, the right not to be tortured in any way, and the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhumane or degrading way, cannot be suspended, even during a state of emergency.

As a result, SAPS and the SANDF were directed by the court to, among others, suspend the soldiers, pending an investigation, and it had to develop a code of conduct for both SAPS and SANDF, as well as institute disciplinary proceedings.

ALSO READ: #CollinsKhosa: We have complied with 95% of the judgment but we will appeal some areas - Cele

The police have opened a murder docket on the matter and this is still ongoing.

The soldiers will not return to work until the investigation is finalised.

News24 sent questions to the SANDF, which wasn't immediately available for comment. The response will be added once it is received.

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