KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the province will revive the multi-party political intervention committee to ensure stability in the build-up to local government elections next year.

Zikalala and the Provincial Executive Council convened a special meeting to focus on crime in certain parts of the province. They were joined by Police Minister Bheki Cele and police management.

Violent crimes such as murder and sexual assaults remain on the rise in the province. According to crimes statistics from April last year to March this year, the province recorded the most number of murders in the country with over 4 800. Inanda in Durban also had the highest number of rape cases in the country. Last month, nine people were killed in KwaNdengezi.

Zikalala has expressed concern about the increase in incidents of gender-based violence in the province. He says out of 30 gender-based violence hotspots identified by national government, six of them are in the province.

“Six of these Hotspots are located in the province and they include Umlazi, eMpangeni, Ntuzuma, Osizweni, Kwamashu and Inanda, which is sadly also known as the rape capital of the County. We are encouraged that the SAPS has prioritised crimes committed against women and children. Provincial government remains committed to protecting women and children. We have developed a comprehensive approach including an establishment of a dedicated gender based violence desk at police stations. This will go a long way in ensuring that efficient service is rendered to all victims of gender based violence and domestic violence in general,” says Zikalala.

In the build-up to the 2016 local government elections, a number of public representatives were killed, which led to the establishment of the Moerane Commission into political killings in the province.

Zikalala also says they want to ensure political tolerance during the upcoming election campaigns.

“As we expect the political campaign for local government to start and intensify early next year the province continue to be vigilant against incidents of violence and political killings. The work done so far point to the fact that serious stability has been achieved. We have seen a decrease in incidents of killings of public representatives and we have decided to resuscitate the multi party political parties intervention committee for early detection of threats and proactive intervention,” says Zikalala.

Meanwhile, at the KZN briefing, Minister Cele refused to confirm nor deny reports that a firearm suspected to have been used in the murder former Bafana Bafana goal keeper, Senzo Meyiwa, has been found. Meyiwa was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Vosloorus on the East Rand at the home of musician Kelly Khumalo, who was his girlfriend at that time.

Cele says he will only comment on the matter once police have gathered enough information.

“It’s just a pity that you have to answer things that you’ll have to answer things that you are not responsible for. The gun found. It shouldn’t make news it should finalise and resolve the case. Surely I heard that is leaked. Now home do you expect minister to answer on leaked issues? So I will leave them leaked. And I will answer when I make statement and I make an announcement whether the gun is found; whether it has been linked to  somebody,” said Cele.

Police say they will also intensify their campaigns of recovering stolen and unlicensed firearms. Interventions will also be made at 11 police stations that have reported an increase in crime in the province.

Cele says families of crime victims deserve justice: