BY Nii Ntreh, 9:00am May 18, 2020,

SA soldiers, cops suspended after man was killed in his home in COVID-19 lockdown

South Africa's security forces have been dogged with high-profile scandals falling out from the lockdown that was recently lifted. Photo Credit: Nehanda radio

A high court in Johannesburg, South Africa has directed for the suspension of a number of police officers and soldiers who were on duty near the home of a man killed while the country was in lockdown.

Friday’s ruling comes off allegations that the security officers beat the deceased man, Collins Khosa, in his home, to death on April 10.

Khosa’s home was in the underprivileged and under-served township of Alexandra, near the wealthy suburb of Sandton, Johannesburg.

Judge Hans Fabricius was quoted as saying South Africa’s cognizance of the rights to live, to be free and be secured “may not be derogated from even in a state of emergency”. The judge ruled that all the accused members of the military and national police should be suspended but it is not clear how many they are.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) had promised prior to the lockdown in March that its officers would abide by the law even as they ensure strict adherence to rules of the coronavirus-forced state of emergency.

But Khosa’s family say they pursued the case to draw attention to how security forces have tortured and brutalized many people since the lockdown began.

Wikus Steyl, a spokesperson for the family, told Reuters that the deceased was having dinner when the security forces came into his home on suspicion that he had purchased alcohol, a transaction prohibited during the lockdown.

The forces reportedly beat and assaulted Khosa with a rifle. The coroner;s report said he died from blunt force trauma. But the death of Khosa was one of other high-profile cases reported during the lockdown that was lifted at the end of last month.

Almost three weeks ago, Bheki Cele, the country’s Minister of Police, had to issue an apology to the country’s Muslim community after it was revealed that cops charged on a small congregation of praying Muslims during the country’s lockdown.

The reported 20 or so Muslims were observing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan in a mosque when officers showed up, disrupted the prayers, and ordered them to the ground.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 18, 2020


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