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Speaker notes of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on political killings in KwaZulu-Natal delivered by police Minister General Bheki Cele on Wednesday, 02 June 2021
2021/06/02

KWAZULU-NATAL, 02 JUNE 2021

Deputy Minister of State Security Agency Zizi Kodwa
National Commissioner of the SAPS, General K Sitole;
DNC’s Present;
Secretariat for the Police Mr Rapea;
DPCI National Head Lt Gen Dr;  Adv Lebeya;
Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Rodney de Kock;
Senior officials present;
Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentleman;

Good Afternoon

I address this media briefing this afternoon on behalf of the Inter -Ministerial Committee looking into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal Province.

We have just concluded a successful IMC meeting where we received a comprehensive briefing on the latest developments in this regard.

Before I go into those details let me take this opportunity to remind South Africans of how we arrived to this point.

The escalation of political related incidents in KZN up to 2018, led to President Cyril Ramaphosa, establishing an IMC consisting of Ministers of State Security, Defense, Justice and Correctional services and Minister of Police.

The mandate of this Committee was quite clear from the onset, it was tasked with ensuring that the perpetrators of politically related crimes are brought to book and to put an end to political violence in KZN.

Against this backdrop as well as the President’s warning of people seeking to turn this province into a killing field, the Committee convened its very first meeting on 21st of May 2018.

In July of the same year, an integrated multi-disciplinary Task Team consisting of the SAPS, NPA supported by the State Security Agency and Correctional Services was established.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the meeting that we have concluded as the IMC, it is abundantly clear to us that the work of the Task Team has and continues to heed the President’s call, to not allow KZN to be a killing field.

CASES

With a 66% detection rate the team has achieved an 83% Conviction rate.

Since 2018, the Task Team has investigated 226 dockets in which 251 arrests have been made on politically related cases.

46 accused have been found guilty of which 30 were convicted for murder.

Out of 34 murder cases, 9 life sentences were handed down.

22 accused have had 10 to 50 years imposed on them.

12 accused have been convicted for no more than 10 years and the remainder, are going through the court processes.

In addition, 69 case dockets unrelated to the Task Team’s mandate, were also considered for investigation by the Task team. The reason for this is that these cases were somehow linked to politically related cases, either with similar suspects or through ballistics.

Over and above the allocated and parallel politically related matters, the Task Team is conducting intelligence-driven operations targeting unlicensed firearms, which has resulted in 107 cases being investigated. Over 200 unlicensed firearms have been confiscated and are now off the streets.

INVOLVEMENT OF PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY

The Task Team has conducted firearms compliance inspections in over 25 security companies, municipal properties and a gun shop as well a police station.

During these inspections, 2360 firearms were seized and sent for ballistic testing.

A total of 34 cases were opened and 41 suspects were arrested and charged on cases in terms of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000 and according to PSIRA Regulations.

It remains a concerning factor of the involvement of law enforcement agencies. In this regard we have arrested 16 SAPS officers for their links in politically related crimes. The involvement of other law enforcement officials is also being closely looked into.

HIGH PROFILE CASES

Members of the Media,

While COVID-19 has been an impediment on the work of the Task Team, we are happy to announce that there has been significant movement in the following cases, despite COVID-19 challenges.

  • Just to name a few, the murder case of Qashana Mchunu a former ANC ward councilor will get underway in court on the  26th of July 2021. Seven suspects have been arrested, one suspect has been charged with his murder and four of the suspects will face charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
  • The murder case of former ANCYL Secretary General, Sindiso Magaqa will also commence on the 19th of July 2021.  The Task Team arrested 8 suspects and five of them have been charged for his murder, one died and charges were withdrawn against two suspects.
  • Trial date has also been set down for the murder of ANCYL member Wandile Ngobeni, two suspects will answer for his murder on the 12th of November 2021.
  • The alleged killers of IFP member Sibuyiselo Phineas Dlamini will also have their day in court, that murder case is expected to get underway on the 22nd of November 2021.
  • The trial date of alleged killer of ANC Ward councilor, Sibusiso Maphumulo has been set to start on the 2nd of May next year.
  • Murder of Oscar Hlatshwayo who was the Executive Director of the Alfred Duma municipality will also get underway on the 16th of August. Four suspects have been arrested for his murder.
  • The case of Sibusiso Mbhobo was an EFF member has been concluded, four of his killers were handed down 4 life sentences each for his murder.
  • Lastly, the killer of NFP member Derick Mthethwa is currently serving a 10 year prison sentence.

CONCLUSION

As I conclude, so far the IMC is happy with the progress made by the political Task Team. This progress is as a result of the intergrated approach of the multi-disciplinary task team which has helped to improve the peace and stability in KwaZulu Natal. This Team remains in place and its capacity will be further strenghtened through added resources.

Currently the province is relatively calm in respect of political killings we have seen a huge decrease in political murders.

In 2016, there were 31 murders reported

  • 2017 - 20
  • 2018 - 12
  • 2019 – 14
  • 2020 – 14
  • 2021 -  04

The murder rate has dropped significantly, However, we are not in the clear yet, political intolerance through intimidation and extortion still remains a cause for concern, especially as we approach local government elections in the coming months. Interventions are in place to deal with this, proactively and reactively.

The IMC would also like to caution againts the opening of “fake cases” – mainly intimidation which involve cases of attempted murder. These false reporting is a crime and amounts to defeating the ends of justice.

Many of these cases are opened by councillors across all political parties.

As the IMC, we continue to encourage political tolerance by individuals and parties during this time and beyond.

Siyabonga, 

We Thank you.