New assault claims at Oudtshoorn infantry worries minister

Defence ministry spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga said Mapisa-Nqakula was concerned at the recent incident of alleged assault "after she had ordered two investigations into other incidents at the infantry school." The initial investigation was ordered in October last year after the suicide of a female recruit.

"When the report of this investigation was received, it was found to be inadequate, and the minister ordered a second probe and that this probe be conducted by that inspector general and must be widened to cover all the incidents of death, including those in the past," said Mbananga.

Mapisa-Nqakula received the report on May 6, coinciding with reports on the latest incidents which appeared in the media a day later.

She said the report received on Monday already pointed to lack of adherence to safety measures.

It also pointed at the inability of unit's boards of inquiry to conduct quality and conclusive investigations, Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Mbananga said the minister directed that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the chief of the army conduct a preliminary investigation on the system failures identified in the report.

In addition, Mapisa-Nqakula directed the office of the military ombudsman to launch a full investigation into complaints by members at the infantry school as well as the general conditions under which recruits lived and trained at Oudtshoorn, he said.

On Tuesday, the SANDF said it would establish a board of inquiry to investigate punitive training sessions at the infantry school.

"Action will be taken against anyone who might have acted out of the rule which governs the type of punishment befitting the violation, because the punishment should be equal to the violation committed," said SANDF spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga.

Several army recruits reportedly needed medical treatment after the training session.

According to Beeld, the training session, which took place on Thursday night and Friday morning, was apparently halted at the request of medical officers at the base because they feared the recruits would not survive.

All the recruits' phones were confiscated to ensure no photos or video footage was distributed, an angry mother told the newspaper.

The punitive session was arranged after the recruits left the base on Thursday to visit a pub. Mabanga confirmed this, but could not confirm the date.

"We are aware of five people that sneaked out of the camp and went to drink in a local pub. Then they were brought back. They were dressed in their military training gear and yes, they were punished in a way that fitted the type of violation."  – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Guest Author

Related stories

Ipid recommends disciplinary action against police who watched Khosa beating

Police watchdog report finds that metro police members did not participate in the assault

Mapisa-Nqakula ‘regrets confusion’ after contradictory statements on Khosa case

The minister’s media statement follows a letter from Khosa’s attorneys that they were considering a perjury charge or a complaint with the Public Protector

Second SANDF report-back to court is silent on Khosa investigation

Despite a court-ordered deadline for the completion of the internal investigation, no explanation is given for Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s contradictory positions

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Police release guidelines for the use of force during lockdown

The guidelines follow a court order in the case of Collins Khosa, who died after an alleged assault by members of the army and the Johannesburg metro police

Appeal to Khosa judgment imminent as family rejects police minister’s deal

The family of Collins Khosa is threatening to seek a personal costs order against Police Minister Bheki Cele

New education policy on gender violence released

Universities and other higher education institutions have to develop ways of preventing or dealing with rape and other damaging behaviour

Cambridge Food Jozini: Pandemic or not, the price-gouging continues

The Competition Commission has fined Cambridge Food Jozini for hiking the price of its maize meal during April

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday