The C-19 People’s Coalition, an alliance of social movements, trade unions, community organisations and NGOs, has called for an independent investigation into the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) over the death of Collins Khosa.
Khosa, an Alexandra man, was killed allegedly by troop members who were manning the streets of the township during the national lockdown, back in April. The civilian’s family subsequently approached the courts to force the SANDF and Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.
The court ruled in favour of the family. The Defence Force’s board then launched a probe into the matter and absolved the implicated officials of any culpability in Khosa’s death, which shined a spotlight on the heavy-handedness of law enforcement during the lockdown.
While it initially appeared as if the investigation was yet to be concluded, the board clarified that the matter had been finalised.
In a statement, the coalition said the SANDF members need to be brought to book, to ensure justice for Khosa’s family and restore trust in the security forces.
“Other members of the security forces including SAPS, Metro Police and private security, who have broken the law in a similar fashion must also be brought to book. Without this, the family are left to bear the incalculable cost of losing a loved one in such a brutal manner. The public will be forced to bear the cost of the trauma inflicted by the security services who are a law unto themselves”
The C-19 People’s Coalition
“But worst of all is the irreparable harm of impunity to the social contract and social fabric of our society. A lack of accountability destroys the trust needed to emerge out of this crisis together”, the movement further said.
Report should not have been submitted to court
The group further said it was alarming that the report exonerating the officials was even allowed to be handed in to a court, as it shows that a closing of ranks is endorsed at the highest level within the SANDF. The group has slammed the report, labelling it an insult to Khosa’s family and South Africans in general.
“We reject these findings and call for an urgent, independent and transparent investigation. The family has a right, in terms of international law, to an investigation that is prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent”, the coalition said.