Take action against ‘improper’ soldiers implicated in Collins Khosa killing – military ombudsman

SANDF members patrol the streets of Alexandra Township north of Johannesburg, 3 March 2020. on the seventh day of national lockdown. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The ombudsman found the behaviour of the soldiers at the time was irregular and in contravention of the code of conduct, operational order and rules of engagement.

The SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) military ombudsman has found the conduct of the soldiers involved in the death of Collins Khosa was improper.

The ombudsman also found the behaviour of the soldiers at the time was irregular and in contravention of the code of conduct, operational order and rules of engagement.

The ombudsman recommended appropriate action should taken against the commander of the platoon and those who were with the commander.

Khosa was killed at his Alexandra home on 10 April.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told parliament the four soldiers linked to Khosa’s death have been put on leave with full pay pending the finalisation of a police investigation.

She said the ombudsman found in light of evidence obtained from those who co-operated with the investigations, the soldiers in entering the Khosa residence to search and seize liquor, did so in the absence of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and police officers.

“And that was outside the scope of the SANDF. From the evidence obtained, it is concluded that in the process of conducting the search for alcohol, various acts of misconduct were committed unfortunately by the soldiers.

“The investigation of the ombudsman doesn’t deal with the criminal investigation which is dealt with by law enforcement agencies. The ombudsman investigates the behaviour of SANDF members,” said Mapisa-Nqakula.

She added the unfortunate part was that the ombudsman, in conducting the investigation, interviewed people including Khosa’s partner, tenants and neighbours.

“The four members of the SANDF who are facing the allegations reserved their right to remain silent after being advised by their lawyer. People will say it is understandable because there is a criminal investigation going on.

“Maybe due to fear of incriminating themselves, perhaps it was correct not to provide answers to the ombudsman. That still did not mean the ombudsman couldn’t make a finding on this case,” Mapisa-Nqakula said.

The minister has written to the chief of the SANDF asking him to comply with the ombudsman’s recommendations.

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