Mapisa-Nqakula denies there is a report with findings into Collins Khosa's death

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24
  • Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula denies there is a report with findings into the death of Collins Khoza at the hands of defence force members.
  • She insists the inquiry into Khosa's death is still ongoing, despite it being attached to an affidavit filed to court.
  • "As far as I'm concerned there is no report," Mapisa-Nqakula said. 

As far as Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is concerned, there is no report clearing the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) of the death of Collins Khosa, and its work continues, she told the Portfolio Committee on Defence on Wednesday.

Mapisa-Nqakula said neither she, nor her deputy, has received a report from the board of inquiry, adding that the chief of the SANDF sent the report back, as they had not fulfilled the full terms of reference.

This is despite the report being attached to a court affidavit by SANDF legal adviser Elvin Hobyana.

"Work on that is still being done," she said. "It is not a matter which has been concluded."

Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba asked for clarification on whether the report in the public domain was a preliminary report.

"I don't accept it even as a preliminary report," Mapisa-Nqakula answered. "As far as I'm concerned there is no report."

DA MP Kobus Marais said he understood the report quoted in the media was part of an affidavit submitted to court and asked for clarification.

Xaba, however, said the matter will come to the committee once the board of inquiry had concluded its work, and didn't allow the committee to entertain it further.

Marais pointed out that the findings formed part of an affidavit, but Xaba said they'll deal with it further when the board has finished its work, and moved on the next agenda item.

In March, days after the start of the national Covid-19 lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 was announced, 40-year-old Khosa was killed at his home in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

According to court papers filed by his family, he was approached by SANDF members who asked about a vacant chair and half a glass of alcohol next to it. Khosa replied that he was allowed to drink at his home, but the soldiers allegedly did not take kindly to the comment.

They allegedly assaulted Khosa, poured beer on his head, held his hands behind his back while they choked and beat him, slammed him against a wall, and used the butt of a machine gun to hit him.

Once they had left, Khosa's wife said she laid him on their bed and held his hand – but, not long after that, she noticed he had stopped moving.

When the ambulance arrived, he was already dead.

No link between Khosa's injuries and SANDF's actions

While the police were busy with a murder investigation, the SANDF also instituted a board of inquiry into Khosa's death, chaired by Brigadier Viscount Ngcobo. Meanwhile, the court found in favour of Khosa's family in a damning judgement against the SANDF and police.

Last week Tuesday, the SANDF's legal adviser Hobyana filed an explanatory affidavit to the court to explain which steps it had taken since the judgment.

Attached to this was the findings of the board of inquiry, which stated that the soldiers accused of killing Khosa cannot be held liable for this death as there was no link between the injuries he sustained due to their actions and him dying.

It further stated that Khosa and his brother-in-law were "undermining the two female soldiers", the force used to get the men to comply with the officers' instructions was "pushing and clapping (sic)" and that Khosa was "conscious and healthy when the security forces left".

Last week Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula said at a press briefing that the inquiry into Khosa's death is not complete and, as such, there can be no determination on whether he was murdered. She also said she was surprised that the report "is in the hands of the media".

On Wednesday, after the Department of Defence's briefing on their fourth quarterly report to the committee, Xaba said his and other MPs' email inboxes were overflowing with messages from the public – who "appear outraged at the findings of the board of inquiry".

"The matter is gaining a lot of traction out there. We are not going to disregard it," Xaba said.

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