Saturday, June 6, 2020

COVID-19 and military justice (South Africa)

There's been an awkward moment in the aftermath of the North Gauteng High Court's decision in the Khosa case. It fell to the South Africa National Defence Force to correct the minister:
There was some confusion earlier this week following Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's appearance in Parliament, where she was quoted as saying the SANDF board report into [Collins] Khosa's death had not been finalised.

On Friday, the SANDF confirmed that the report was final and the investigation would not be reopened.

"The board of inquiry was not convened by the minister and does not report to her and thus what was confirmed to the court is that the SANDF had completed its internal investigation within the stipulated time frames as per the court’s order.

"On 2 June 2020, while addressing the joint standing committee on defence, the minister stated that in her opinion there is no finalised board of inquiry investigation report as she was made to understand that the investigation had been referred back by the Chief of the South African National Defence Force and might be reopened for further investigation.

"This understanding has turned out not to be correct as the SANDF will not be reopening the board of inquiry for further investigations.

"The minister regrets any confusion that might have been caused by her address to the joint standing committee on defence and by the subsequent public reporting of her address to the joint standing committee."
Presumably the case will be going to the appellate courts.

Postscript as of June 7, 2020: the SANDF will not be appealing Judge Hans Fabricius's ruling.

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