Collins Khosa: New details of alleged SANDF assault on witnesses, family come to light in IPID report

A soldier of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is seen during a patrol in the Johannesburg CBD.
A soldier of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is seen during a patrol in the Johannesburg CBD.
Marco Longari, AFP
  • New information surrounding the assault of Collins Khosa has come to light in a report compiled by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
  • Two witnesses told IPID how they were allegedly assaulted after taking video footage of the incident.
  • The witnesses confirmed to IPID that the JMPD officers stood by while Khosa was allegedly assaulted by SANDF members.

New details regarding the assault of Collins Khosa have come to light following a report on an investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

The directorate has recommended disciplinary action be taken against five metro police officers, who stood by as Khosa and his family were assaulted, allegedly by members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

It also recommended that two SAPS officers undergo disciplinary processes for contravention of the police's disciplinary regulations.

Khosa was allegedly assaulted by members of the defence force on Good Friday, during the nationwide lockdown.

According to court papers, they kicked and punched Khosa, holding his hands behind his back while they choked and beat him, slammed him against the wall, and used the butt of a machine gun to hit him.

He died soon after of blunt force trauma to the head.

An investigation by the SANDF's board of inquiry absolved the army of any wrongdoing with regard to Khosa's death, stating there was no link between the injuries he sustained and his death.

READ | EFF to challenge SANDF report that clears members of wrongdoing in Collins Khosa death

IPID Report: witnesses assaulted

A task team of senior investigators from IPID conducted interviews with witnesses of the crime, including four new witnesses, five JMPD (Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department) officials and three SAPS officials. As a result, new information about the incident was revealed.

In an interview with members of the IPID task team, two neighbours of the Khosa family said they had seen SANDF members assaulting Khosa and his brother-in-law, Thabiso Muvhango.

They took video recordings of it on their phone.

One witness alleged that, after seeing her recording the incident, members of the SANDF took her to a JMPD bus, where they assaulted her and forced her to delete the footage.

OPINION | If all black lives matter to the ANC, what about Collins Khosa's death?

Another witness said SANDF members saw him taking a video - and he, too, was assaulted.

According to both witnesses, after being forced into the bus, they were taken to Alexandra Mall.

There, they were forced into an army truck, where SANDF members continued to assault them.

A JMPD officer corroborated this, saying he drove them to the mall without knowing why.

The witnesses were then driven to a nearby off-ramp about 15 minutes away and dropped off, and their phones were thrown into the bush.

WATCH | Collins Khosa: 'He knew how to make us laugh', says family as they fight for justice

Details of Khosa's assault

All witnesses who gave statements to IPID confirmed that JMPD officials stood by as Khosa and his family were assaulted.

One witness said a male JMPD officer told her to "run to your house".

Witnesses said the SANDF members entered Khosa's home while the family was eating their supper, and they found a beer.

They allegedly told Muvhango that "he is drinking and they want people like him", also demanding beers from both Khosa and Muvhango.

According to court papers, SANDF members told the two to go outside as they wanted to "prove a point".

However, on their way out, one member slammed the metal gate onto Khosa's car.

"Mr. Khosa protested this act of vandalism. This further agitated the members of the SANDF," Khosa's partner Nomsa Montsha said.

According to a witness in the IPID report, the SANDF called for back-up after this incident and about six more members arrived on scene. They proceeded to assault Khosa, Mavhungo and Montsha.

READ HERE | Collins Khosa death: IPID recommends disciplinary steps against JMPD and police officers

Metro police officers allegedly waited on the street, while the SANDF members carried out the beatings.

During the assault, Muvhango demanded the SANDF members arrest him, but they pushed him towards a JMPD vehicle.

The metro officers at the vehicle asked Muvhango what had happened. When he explained, they did not arrest him but simply told him not to argue with the SANDF members.

SANDF members again assaulted Muvhango and Khosa, in full view of JMPD officers, according to Muvhango.

Khosa died soon after the incident.

They just talked and left

Police officers, however, make no mention of an assault – only saying they saw the two SANDF members before they all left together and knocked off.

READ | Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula got it wrong on Collins Khosa inquiry, report is final - SANDF

Three JMPD officers alleged that they saw the two soldiers speaking to two African males - "the soldiers went inside the house with those African males, they came back and they left, following each other, and went to knock off".

IPID told News24 that it has finalised its investigation into the matter and a comprehensive report with recommendations has been sent to JMPD.

"JMPD has acknowledged receipt of this report and is yet to provide feedback to IPID with regards to its final decision," IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola said. 

JMPD spokesperson, Wayne Minnaar, said they were aware of a statement by IPID concerning JMPD officers who at the scene of Collins Khosa's assault and are currently conducting an internal investigation into the matter. 

"JMPD Internal Affairs Unit is currently investigating the five officers concerned.  As this case is sub judice, hence it is under judicial consideration, and therefore is prohibited from public discussion.  The investigation by JMPD Internal Affairs Unit is ongoing," Minnaar said. 

According to SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Vish Naidoo, they have not received communication or a recommendation from IPID on the matter.

* This story has been updated to include comments from the JMPD and SAPS.

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