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Suspend them: family of Alex man 'killed by soldiers' demand action

Soldiers have been accused of being heavy-handed in enforcing lockdown restrictions in SA's townships. File photo.
Soldiers have been accused of being heavy-handed in enforcing lockdown restrictions in SA's townships. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

The family of the Alexandra man who was allegedly beaten to death by soldiers in front of police is seeking the suspension of those involved in his murder.

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday that  soldiers and metro police who were involved in the assault of Collins Khosa should be suspended.

Khoza was allegedly beaten to death by soldiers who confronted him for drinking at his home on Good Friday. Members of the Johannesburg metro police (JMPD) are accused of standing by and doing nothing during the attack.

“The soldiers and [metro cops] who stood by when the crime was committed in their presence are still in their posts. It is intolerable that they are still roaming the streets with guns,” said Ngcukaitobi.

Thandi Thabethe, who is 53, was arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto, on April 23 2020 for selling atchar without a permit during lockdown. Thabethe's arrest was recorded on video and circulated on social media. Despite being released from her holding cell, Thabethe still faces some backlash from her community after returning home. TimesLIVE sat down with Thabethe following the incident.

“Their identities are known. Ipid [the Independent Police Investigative Directorate] ran a sham investigation, but at least it went to the scene and pretended to investigate. The reality is that this is a huge cover-up. Suspend them in order to protect the public.”

He said that in their inquiry to the Ekurhuleni metro - which seemingly also had officers on the scene, he said - they received a response that read: "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have immediately suspended the member."

But this statement was not found in the answering affidavit of the JMPD.

"What we can deduce from this is that the soldiers and police are still in their posts," said Ngcukaitobi.

A month later, neither the SANDF nor the JMPD have committed to suspending the members.

The Khosa family is also seeking financial compensation for loss of support, trauma, shock, psychological assistance and medical expenses.

“They are protecting the soldiers rather than holding them accountable. A suspension pending an investigation is precautionary - [it means] get out of the office until we find out whether you did it or not. If you didn’t do it, come back to work,” said Ngcukaitobi.

He claimed that based on statements by the ministers of defence and police, they either did not understand the law or they did not care.

“It is the most important order we seek for the court to state what the law is - to show that whatever else has been suspended in this period, what has not been suspended is the rule of law.”

The case is continuing.

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