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Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the case in which soldiers are accused of brutality in an incident that led to the death of Alexandra resident Collins Khosa during lockdown is still receiving attention from several law enforcement entities.
The Minister said this when Ministers in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster appeared before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to field oral questions on Tuesday.
“I am singling out the [Collings Khosa] case in particular because it is a matter of interest right now in South Africa and it is a matter which relates to the death of a human being and therefore, it is necessary for me to indicate to honourable members and to South Africans that [because] at some point we said the board of inquiry has completed its work and that’s it, does not mean this case is not receiving attention.
“This case is receiving attention from three different entities, which is namely your [SANDF] board of inquiry, your military ombudsman and the last one, which is the joint investigation conducted by the military police and the South African Police Service,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula was responding to a question on whether government has taken responsibility on the reported incidents where SANDF officers had been accused of alleged acts of brutality against civilians.
She said government has expressed empathy with the families, and in particular, the Khosa family, for what happened to them.
“Obviously I am the executive in the department and anything that happens to members of our society. Anything that happens to that structure … you get ashamed, you get embarrassed.
“And I must say that when the allegations emerged, I am on record of having made a statement to the effect that we do not accept instances where law enforcement agencies abuse power.
“Even when the matter of the Khosa case, even though there hasn’t been an investigation that gives us a finding as to who should be accountable for this case, I am still on record as having said, on behalf of the South African government, we have our hands in shame for what has happened, for the loss of life.
“I don’t think an impression should be created that we do not take responsibility, we take responsibility. We make these statements because we do take responsibility for whatever action – whether good or bad.”
Mapisa-Nqakula has also defended the decision of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee to approve the sale of arms to Turkey.
Mapisa-Nqakula said the sale was approved after advise from departments such as State Security, Defence Intelligence as well as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the Minister said there was, therefore, nothing that prevents the country from selling arms to Turkey.
“Currently there no impediments in law to trade with Turkey in terms of our act. In terms of the provision of the act, there’s always careful analysis and consideration before granting approval. For now, there is nothing preventing us from trading with Turkey. There isn’t even an arms embargo,” she said.