The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal says the ongoing killings at the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, south of Durban, are not politically-motivated. It says the killings are carried out by criminal elements.

Provincial Deputy Director of the NPA, Advocate Cyril Selepe, vehemently ruled out any element of politics in the killings that have resulted in close to a hundred deaths in the last four years.

This is a view also shared by the police, and revealed in their evidence before the Moerane Commission sitting in Durban.

The NPA in KwaZulu-Natal says only 49 cases with political elements have reached them since 2011. Selepe says they have prosecuted 10 cases with only four convictions. He also revealed there were eight cases that were withdrawn due to key witness being killed or some witnesses disappearing after being intimidated.

Selepe was questioned by evidence leader Advocate Bheki Manyathi on the type of cases that are labelled as “politically related.”

Selepe maintains that information contained in some dockets indicates pure criminality.

“Do you get cases where people in general believe are political, but when you read the entire docket after investigation is finalised there is nothing to suggest political?” asks Manyathi.

“A lot! We get a lot of these. It’s purely criminal activity. It’s not politically aligned. The classic one is Glebelands. Glebelands has been reported in the media everywhere as a political one, killings and all that. Looking into the docket, it’s not. It’s purely criminal activity. It does not go near where pointing towards political killings,” answered Selepe.

Selepe also revealed that the latest arrest at the Glebelands hostel includes a police officer and five others charged with the murder of Sipho Ndovela.

Ndovela was a witness that was killed outside the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court.

Selepe also clarified the murder case of the uMzimkhulu municipal speaker, Khaya Thobela. He says while police arrested a suspect who was in possession of a firearm, ballistic results did not match the gun that killed Thobela.

“According to him, his informer told him that he is the hitman and that there was a possibility that that firearm  could be linked by ballistics to the crime scene. I encouraged him. I said, ‘Brigadier, if that is the only evidence we could have to link this person within two days you must speed up the ballistic analysis,’ which he did. Within two or three days, if not mistaken. He came back to me with the ballistic report, which was excluding the said firearm as the firearm which was used during the commission of the crime. We were left with no option but to prosecute the man for possession of a firearm than murder because there was no evidence to identify or place him as a perpetrator of murder.”

The commission continues with representatives from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who will testify.

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