Soldiers implicated in Collins Khosa’s killing violated his human rights - court

Collins Khoza's death last month caused public outcry with members of the community calling for action against the officers alleged to have been involved.

FILE: The SANDF took to the streets of Alexandra on 15 April 2020 to encourage residents of the township to stay indoors. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The High Court in Pretoria has found that the conduct of SANDF members implicated in Collins Khosa’s killing was in violation of human rights.

The court has ordered that the officials be placed on precautionary suspension pending an investigation into Khosa’s murder.

The 40-year-old Alexandra man was assaulted, allegedly by officers at his home, while they were enforcing lockdown regulations.

His death caused a public outcry, with members of the community calling for action to be taken against those responsible.

The High Court in Pretoria has found that Khosa was subjected to being assaulted and tortured in breach of his constitutional rights.

In delivering his verdict, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that those implicated in Khosa’s killing to be placed on suspension while an investigation is under way to instill public confidence in the state.

He said that even during a national state of disaster, citizens were entitled to their constitutional rights and should not be in an inhumane or degrading manner.

The court has also ordered the SANDF and police to command all it’s members to adhere to the Constitution and apply only minimum force that is reasonable to enforcing the law.

Judge Hans Fabricius also called for the publishing of a range of guidelines to inform how officers should enforce lockdown compliance.

"Guidelines about when a person may be arrested, and alternative means of ensuring their attendance at trial…Information where members of the public may lodge complaints against the SANDF, SAPS or any other law enforcement agency or officer."

The DA has welcomed the court's order with party's shadow minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kobus Marais saying: "We trust that this ruling will send a strong message to all soldiers and all law enforcement officials that they are not above the law and that our citizens must be treated with dignity and respect."