The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) says it has no jurisdiction to investigate the alleged murder of Collins Khosa because only members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were involved in the matter.
In response to the court case launched by Khosa’s family following his death, Ipid said it had conducted a preliminary investigation into the incident by speaking to the police and the family, and had concluded that no police officers were involved.
“The Ipid conducted an inquiry and the result thereof was that members of the municipal police, who were in the vicinity, were not involved in the assault; only the members of the [SANDF],” acting executive director of Ipid Patrick Setshedi said.
He added that Ipid investigators had been to the Alexandra Police Station, as well as Khosa’s family, who said, despite municipal police being in the vicinity, only SANDF members were involved.
It means the Military Ombudsman is responsible for investigating the case.
Last month, the family approached the Constitutional Court after Khosa was allegedly beaten to death by SANDF members.
However, their application was dismissed, forcing the family to approach the High Court instead.
Khosa’s wife, who is unnamed in the application, alleged that SANDF members harassed Khosa after finding a glass of alcohol in his yard.
They allegedly assaulted Khosa and his family, pouring beer on his head, and holding his hands behind his back while they choked and beat him. They also allegedly slammed him against the wall and used the butt of a machine gun to hit him.
In their court application, the Khosa family called for the establishment of a “freely accessible mechanism” for the public to report allegations of torture or inhumane treatment by law enforcement (police, SANDF and municipal police).
The mechanism would be resourced with a team of at least 20 qualified people from Ipid and the Military Ombudsman.
The team, it is suggested, would review all cases and recommend appropriate action. It would produce progress reports every five days and a final report each month.
However, in its reply, Ipid maintained that this mechanism would stretch their already thin human resources.
Setshedi said he could not see what goal this mechanism would achieve because this was already similar to the mandate of Ipid.
“All these costs would be better utilised to address the concerns the applicants [the Khosa family] have with the independence of Ipid and its ability to carry out its legislated functions, whose end is to see prosecution and discipline for any acts of misconduct,” he said.
Setshedi maintained that Ipid should instead be enabled to fulfil its mandate by being given resources, “not only in respect of the cases reported during the lockdown period but also existing cases and those that may be reported in future”.