Family 'happy' as military ombud says soldiers were out of line in Collins Khosa death
The family of Collins Khosa — who died on April 10 after an altercation with South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers — have expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the investigation by the military ombud.
Wikus Steyl, the lawyer helping the family with a civil claim against the state, said he spoke to the family after defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula made the omud's findings known to parliament on Wednesday night.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the military ombud, Lt-Gen (Ret) Vusumuzi Masondo, found that the soldiers acted improperly, irregularly and in contravention of their code of conduct. She said Masondo has also recommended that disciplinary measures be taken against the commander of the platoon who was on the ground, and against those who were with the commander.
According to Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday, Masondo found that the soldiers, in entering the Khosa residence for the search and seizure of liquor, did so in the absence of the Johannesburg metro police department (JMPD) and the SAPS, who they were meant to be supporting.
Steyl told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE on Thursday: “Though we have not seen the full report because it is not public yet, we are happy with findings of the ombud, which clearly show that there was an honest, proper investigation that was followed. We are happy that the ombud interviewed witnesses and showed he wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.”
Khosa’s bother-in-law, Thabiso Muvhango, who witnessed the assault, said the findings were a step in the right direction for the family to find justice.
“This is what we told them from the beginning, that those soldiers were wrong to even get into our yard and assault Collins like that. Though nothing will bring him back, we are glad that the ombud’s findings correspond with what we saw on the day and what we have been saying all along,” he said.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Capt Mavela Masondo confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated and that no arrests had been made. “We wouldn't like to divulge more information that might compromise the investigation,” Masondo told TimesLIVE.
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