Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Thursday said the inquiry into the death of Collins Khosa is not complete and, as such, there can be no determination on whether he was murdered.
Earlier on Thursday, the legal team representing Khosa’s family rejected an inquiry report by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), which apparently cleared soldiers of causing Khosa’s death.
“The report by the SANDF is rubbish. We do not accept it, the evidence completely contradicts this report. It is ridiculous to say he died of some other cause,” Wikus Steyl, of Ian Levitt Attorneys, said on Thursday.
The board, led by Brigadier Viscount Ngcobo, found that Khosa and his brother-in-law, Thabiso Muvhango, undermined the female soldiers who approached them about drinking alcohol in their yard.
Khosa is understood to have died after a confrontation with the soldiers.
The case appeared before the Gauteng High Court, at which Judge Hans Fabricius ruled in favour of Khosa’s family, finding that the right to dignity, life, the right not to be tortured in any way, and the right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhumane or degrading way cannot be suspended, even during a state of emergency.
As a result, SAPS and the SANDF were directed by the court to, among others, suspend the soldiers, pending an investigation, and it had to develop a code of conduct for both SAPS and SANDF, as well as institute disciplinary proceedings.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she was taken by surprise to hear the report into Khoza’s death “is in the hands of the media”.
“Firstly, because all processes have not been exhausted in dealing with that issue,” she said during a live televised briefing on the regulations for level 3 of the lockdown, which commences on 1 June.
“You have various entities within the [SANDF], who are cooperating in conducting the investigation related to this matter,” she said.
“So any suggesting that in fact the soldiers if [there were] any soldiers, or police, or whoever, were implicated in the murder of the gentleman, it’s a matter which I do not want to comment on, precisely because it’s a matter which is still under investigation and in terms of the court; in fact, it is a sub judice matter,” she said.
She said the SANDF had already stated it would not appeal a court ruling on directives given to the SANDF on how they should conduct themselves while doing their work.
“But anything else, which relates to whether this is a murder case or not, is a matter which I would rather not comment on until such time the whole investigation has been concluded,” she said.
She added that the court did not deal with whether Khosa was murdered or not.
The police are still investigating.