The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejected the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) decision to exonerate the soldiers who were allegedly involved in the death of Collins Khosa.
“We are extremely disappointed by this decision and how the SANDF has handled the matter. It would appear that they rushed through the process without following just and proper processes,” DA MP Kobus Marais said in a statement on Thursday.
The comes after the North Gauteng High Court recently ordered that the implicated soldiers be suspended and that the minister of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, ensure that an investigation was conducted into the matter.
“It is questionable how the SANDF arrived at their decision, as it has emerged that the investigation relied solely on statements made by the soldiers, and did not take into account the testimonies of Mr Khosa’s relatives who were witnesses to his tragic death.
“Accounts stating that soldiers entered Mr Khosa’s property, forcefully dragged him out to the street and assaulted him was not factored into the outcome of this internal investigation.
“It is therefore hard to reconcile how the SANDF arrived at their decision to exonerate the soldiers involved when they only relied on one side of the story,” the MP said.
Marais said the SANDF’s actions illustrate a complete disregard for the courts, Khosa’s family and the public who are seeking justice for his death.
“SANDF has now sent a message that they are willing to protect their own at all costs, even at the expense of a civilian’s life.
“Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and the SANDF leadership have essentially justified the excessive use of force and emboldened the military to continue with their horrific treatment of the South African public. They should hang their heads in shame,” he added.
The MP further said the DA had lodged a complaint with the Military Ombudsman, General (Ret) Vusi Masondo, to request an independent investigation into Khosa’s death.
“We trust that the outcome of this investigation will be independent and transparent, unlike the sham that was the military’s internal investigation.
“We would like to remind SANDF and Minister Mapisa-Nqakula that this is not a war and South Africans are not the enemy. We live in a constitutional democracy and the excessive use of force by the military on civilians are therefore unjustifiable,” he said.
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)