The EFF has taken up the mantle on behalf of the Khosa family, to hold the government accountable for Collins Khosa’s death.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) will be heading to court to sue the government on behalf of the family of Collins Khosa, after he was allegedly killed by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) during Level 5 of the Covid-19 lockdown.
EFF leader Julius Malema was speaking outside the US Embassy in Pretoria on Monday morning, during his party’s #BlackLivesMatter silent protest against the brutal killing of American George Floyd who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Holding up placards denouncing racism and calling for justice, the protesters silently knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the duration in which Floyd had a knee pressed to his neck.
But the protest was also against South Africans who died at the hands of law enforcement officers during the lockdown. This included Khosa.
Malema said his party immediately reached out to the family shortly after the death to assist with burial costs and to give support. They offered their lawyer to the family to approach the courts to order the government to pay for the funeral, the EFF leader said.
“We gave the family hope and we paid for all the funeral costs. We then went to the court with the family and the court granted us some relief, which included the funeral costs, and so on. We have made the commitment that when the state pays that money for the funeral costs, even though we have paid the costs, we don’t need [the money]. It must go to the family to support [them].”
But the SANDF had exonerated their members for the killing of Khosa when they finalized their internal report on the matter. The circumstances around his death are however being probed by police.
“Now we are in the second phase of suing the state [on behalf of] the family. We are more than convinced that the judges will be on our side. It was brutality and abuse of power and we don’t associate with that,” Malema told the media outside the Embassy.
Khosa’s wife, who came to show support to the EFF, briefly addressed the crowd.
“I was there and saw when my husband was killed by SANDF. I am happy to be here today and thank EFF for the support they gave the Khosa family.”
According to court papers filed by his family, he was approached by SANDF members who asked about a vacant chair and half a glass of alcohol next to it.
Khosa replied that he was allowed to drink at his home, but the soldiers allegedly did not take kindly to the comment.
They allegedly assaulted Khosa, poured beer over his head, held his hands behind his back while they choked and beat him, slammed him against a wall, and used the butt of a machine gun to hit him.
Once they had left, Khosa’s wife said she laid him on their bed and held his hand – but, not long after that, she noticed he had stopped moving.
When the ambulance arrived, he was already dead.
While the police were busy with a murder investigation, the SANDF also instituted a board of inquiry into Khosa’s death, chaired by Brigadier Viscount Ngcobo.
Meanwhile, the court found in favour of Khosa’s family in a damning judgment against the SANDF and police.
Last week Tuesday, the SANDF’s legal adviser Elvis Hobyana filed an explanatory affidavit to the court to explain which steps it had taken since the judgment. Attached to this was the findings of the board of inquiry, which stated that the soldiers accused of killing Khosa cannot be held liable for this death as there was no link between the injuries he sustained due to their actions and him dying.
It further stated that Khosa and his brother-in-law were “undermining the two female soldiers”, the force used to get the men to comply with the officers’ instructions was “pushing and clapping (sic)”, and that Khosa was “conscious and healthy when the security forces left”, News24 reported earlier.
The EFF leader also spoke about his disapproval of the government’s decision to open schools on Monday.
He rubbished claims by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga that schools in the country were 95% ready to reopen.
“It will take us decades to fix the schools in South Africa. These schools were designed for black people and didn’t have much facilities. Prisons are much cleaner than schools. A lot of schools do not have basins in toilets and they use common taps,” he said.
“These schools are going to create serious problems for us. It will end in tears, the same as the mines, the same as big factories. They never practice social distancing, they never practice social distancing and issues of health. They are not safe at all.
“The owners of these factories don’t think that black people deserve to work in a healthy environment and they have not invested much in ensuring black lives are saved.”
Source: The Citizen
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