Police Minister Bheki Cele says law enforcement agencies are dealing with violent attacks stemming from pockets of political intolerance and violence in KwaZulu-Natal. Cele has briefed the media in Durban about cases being investigated by the task team on political killings.
Since July 2018, the task team has so far investigated 321 dockets. Cele says of these, 134 cases were reported between 2011 and the formation of the task team in 2018. He says the task team is investigating 155 cases of murder, 51 of attempted murder, 77 of intimidation, and 12 cases of conspiracy to commit murder.
Authorities are worried about the ongoing killing of politicians in the province. Cele revealed that the task team, which includes members of the police, NPA and State Security Agency, has pointed out unstable coalitions in municipalities as a contributing factor to the current wave of attacks.
“Seemingly there are pockets of society where the barrel of a gun and not through negotiations decide coalitions. Investigation by the task team has revealed that current tensions within and between political parties are due to the unstable coalition governments. When people they fight over coalitions, it does looks like in this province, it’s the barrel of the guns that decide coalitions. When they change the mayors and all that, here they change the numbers through the barrel of the gun,” says Cele.
Video: Police Minister Bheki Cele leads security briefing on political killings in KZN
Cele says since the formation of the task team, eight of KwaZulu-Natal’s 11 regions have been stabilised.
“The eThekwini metropolitan remains an area of concern and the focus is now on this region to bring much needed stability. The IMC is encouraged that interventions are in place to deal with all forms of politically related crime proactively and reactively in the eThekwini and the Zululand district, investigations of the political killings by the task team have revealed that the most affected political parties are the ANC, IFP and the NFP,” Cele added.
Meanwhile, Cele also gave an update on the recent killings of councillors in the province.
“On the recent cases that were reported the task team has made three arrests in the Midlands region in the killing of councillor Mkhize, one accused has been arrested for the attempted murder of councillor Manqele in the Zululand district, two suspects have been identified for the killing of councillor Mchunu and arrests are expected soon on behalf of the IMC. I wish to dispel any notion that seek to cast doubt in the work of task team investigating political killings in KZN, it has also revealed that continuous efforts by the task team to ensure that firearms linked to crime scenes are taken off the streets after being found,” Cele elaborates.
Government is to keep a close watch on areas already identified as hotspots including the KwaMashu hostel and Umlazi’s Glebelands hostel.