Collin Khosa’s family welcomes Military Ombud’s finding

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The family of Collins Khosa, who died after being severely assaulted allegedly by members of the South African National Defense Force, has welcomed the Military Ombud’s findings that the soldiers acted improperly, irregularly, and in contravention of their code of conduct.

Khosa succumbed to his injuries after he was beaten on the 10th of April during a lockdown operation.

The Ombud has recommended that the soldiers face appropriate disciplinary action.

Khosa and his brother in law were having a drink inside their yard in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, when they were accused of violating lockdown regulations by drinking alcohol.

Earlier, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula submitted a signed affidavit in support of the chief of the SANDF’s report that had exonerated four soldiers. She said the report was preliminary, but the SANDF said it was final.

Khosa’s partner Nomsa Montsha says these latest developments give them hope that justice will prevail.

“We’re very happy with the results since we were disappointed with the report that the Minister had released before. So it means now there are some things that they’re doing about this case. And we’re very happy with the ombudsman, it really seems they did a good job and we’re happy with the results that came out.”

As SABC’s Nosipho Mncube reports the family legal team will be using the Military Ombudsman report in their R10 million civils claim:

Criminal investigation

The case, which gained traction is undergoing a range of investigations, including a criminal investigation into his death.

Since then, the family has sought justice, appealing to the Constitutional Court and thereafter the High Court in Pretoria.

The High Court ruled in favour of the family of Collins Khosa, that all law enforcement officers who were present during the attack that led to Khosa’s death, be suspended pending the investigation.

The family attorney says they welcome the recommendations and will continue with the civil claim against the Minister.

Khoza family attorney, Wikus Steyl says “The family welcomes the latest ombuds report. It’s finally a step towards justice for Collin and his loved ones. Steps will be taken against the soldiers. They are still on suspicion and hopefully, the disciplinary report will dismiss them. The report greatly aids the criminal investigation and the claim that the family are proceeding with the civil claim against the Minister.”

Steyl adds that the R10 million civil claim is intended to sustain Khosa’s widow and five children.

“The civils claim is not for anybody to get rich, it is to support the people that collins was supporting. we will use the ombuds report in that civil claim.”

DA wants answers 

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it wants answers from Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula about what the party refers to as ‘flip-flopping’ over a South African National Defence Force report on the death of Collins Khosa in Alexandra, allegedly at the hands of soldiers.

The DA says the ombud’s finding is the first step towards holding the perpetrators accountable.

However, the DA says the Minister had earlier submitted a signed affidavit in support of the chief of the SANDF’s report that had exonerated four soldiers.

Khosa’s family reacted to the first report: 

-Additional reporting by Nosipho Mncube