What the board probing Collins Khosa' death found

The SANDF board of enquiry cleared soldiers who were accused of being responsible for the death of Collins Khosa in Alexandra on April 10.
The SANDF board of enquiry cleared soldiers who were accused of being responsible for the death of Collins Khosa in Alexandra on April 10.
Image: Alaister Russell

At least 15 witnesses were interviewed by the board, which commenced work on April 14. They included members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), police, Johannesburg metro police, a pathologist (junior registrar) and a neurologist.

Collins Khosa's family were not interviewed and only their statements in police dockets and legal papers were taken.

Board findings:

  • Troops initially deployed without mission readiness training;
  • Training conducted from March 31;
  • Unit involved in the incident received mission readiness training on April 2, (incident happened on the 10th);
  • Soldiers were patrolling, at about 5.30pm they saw Khosa's brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango non-complying.
  • They told him to comply, he argued with the female officer. Later, Khosa joined the argument;
  • The cause of the argument was undermining the two female officers (gender inequality), the conduct of the two men was provocative; and
  • The two officers called for back-up, force 'clapping and pushing' was used to make them comply. The aim was achieved because the two men walked inside the house.

Contradictions which board said are basis of their decision.

Why soldiere were acquitted:

  • A police captain advised an inquest docket must be opened because cause of death was unclear. A Sgt Baloyi ignored advice and opened murder docket. Board found conduct of Baloyi was "unaccepatable";
  • None of the witnesses, or the postmortem, mentioned sharp object, but a print-out from Crime Administrative System mentioned force and sharp object;
  • None of the witnesses in police docket mentioned vomiting, but family claim he did;
  • Witnesses said he walked inside vs family's claim that he was carried inside; and
  • Witnesses said he came into the house and asked his friend to take his wife to hospital and went to the toilet twice vs founding affidavit said he was confused and unconscious;

Based on contradictions, board concluded Khosa was healthy when the officers left.

Family version to the court:

  • They entered the yard with sjamboks;
  • They raided the house, confiscated alcohol from the fridge;
  • They ordered the men outside the yard, to "prove a point"; and
  • They damaged Khosa's car parked inside by smashing the steel gate against it on their way out.

Torture:

  • They poured beer on him;
  • Held his hands behind him and choked him;
  • They slammed him against a cement wall;
  • Hit him with a butt of a machine gun;
  • Kicked, slapped, punched him in his body and ribs;
  • Slammed him against the steel gate;
  • Deleted cellphone footage taken by at least two community witnesses; and

Wife, Nomsa Montsha, took him inside. He later started vomiting, losing his speech and consciousness and ability to walk. He then died.

The board found Khosa's injuries cannot be linked to the cause of death.

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