Defence Minister’s contradictions fuel questions over independence of internal army probe

Politics

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to discipline or replace the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for her and her department’s shambolic handling of the inquiry into the death of Collins Khosa, allegedly at the hands of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula shockingly backtracked on comments she made before Parliament’s joint standing committee on defence namely that the army’s investigation into the death of Collins Khosa was a preliminary report and “has been referred back by the chief of the SANDF and might be reopened for further investigation” despite my indication to her to the contrary.

She has now indicated that her understanding of the situation was incorrect and that SANDF will not be reopening the investigation.

The Minister’s comments to the committee were made after SANDF filed an affidavit with the High Court which included the finalised report and a confirmatory affidavit by the Minister herself. This raises several questions, such as, did the Minister mislead Parliament? Did she not know that she signed the affidavit which was submitted to court? Was she undermined by the military leadership? OR has she lost their trust and support?

The DA will be submitted several parliamentary questions to the Minister in this regard.

It is this confusion and contradictions which fuel speculations that the entire internal military investigation into Mr Khosa’s untimely death was a sham and devoid of transparent and due process. The DA maintains that the investigation was solely an exercise to exonerate the soldiers who were implicated in the death of Mr Khosa. This was never about justice for the Khosa family.

We trust that the Military Ombud investigation requested by the DA (case number MO/DIA/12/1/0039/20-21) will be conducted in an independent and transparent manner. Those soldiers involved in the tragic death of Collins Khosa cannot be given a free pass for taking his life. They must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.


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