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Speaker notes for Police Minister General Bheki Cele on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, 06 September 2023
2023/09/06

 

SPEAKER NOTES FOR POLICE MINISTER GENERAL BHEKI CELE ON BEHALF OF THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE (IMC) ON POLITICAL KILLINGS IN KWAZULU-NATAL, WEDNESDAY 06 SEPTEMBER 2023

 

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

I address this media briefing this morning, on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Political Killings, consisting of Ministers of State Security, Defence, Justice and Correctional Services and myself the Minister of Police who also chairs the IMC.


The IMC held its meeting on Tuesday in Durban, where it was presented with a detailed briefing on the work of the integrated multi-disciplinary Task Team investigating Political Killings in KZN since 2018 to date.

In its five years of existence the Committee has provided the nation with several updates, the last one took place in February 2022.

The Committee remains committed to encouraging political tolerance by individuals and parties whether before, during or after the election period and beyond.
However, through the Integrated work of the Task Team; the IMC is, as committed to arrest those who use violence, to settle political scores.

This Task Team includes the SAPS, NPA supported by the State Security Agency and Correctional Services, Premier and MEC for Community Safety and Liaison of KwaZulu-Natal.

It is on this score, that the IMC wishes to categorically put on record, that the initial mandate given to the Committee, by His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018, not to allow KZN to be a killing field; is still on course.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

As the country edges closer to the elections which are expected to take place within the first half of the next year, the IMC felt it necessary to brief on the latest developments around the investigation of political linked violence in KZN.

The Committee has been brought up to speed on the work of law enforcement agencies, who are dealing with violent attacks stemming from the pockets of political intolerance and violence, elimination of competition and in some cases just pure greed.


These incidents include targeted threats and hits on councillors, other political players such as office bearers and traditional leaders in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

 

PROGRESS ON CASES
Members of the Media,

Since 04 July 2018, the Task Team has so far investigated 321 dockets.
This is 63 more dockets compared to the last update that was provided in February last year.
This figure includes 134 cases reported from 2011 to June 2018, before the commencement of the work of the Task Team.

The cases under scrutiny by the team include 155 cases of murder;
51 of Attempted murder, 77 of Intimidation, 12 cases of conspiracy to commit murder with 26 other ad hoc cases.

So far the work of the Task Team has resulted in the arrest of 348 suspects who have already been charged on 233 cases.
62 suspects have been convicted while 155 are going through the court processes. 17 arrested suspects have since died during the court processes.
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FIREARMS
Firearms are the preferred weapons of choice for the majority of the attacks on councillors, office bearers and municipal officials.
It is on this score that the team has recovered 46 firearms from suspects, which are linked through ballistics to multiple political murder cases before the Task Team.

In a continuous effort to reduce the political killings and at same time, reduce the proliferation of firearms within the province of KwaZulu-Natal and country at large.
The Task Team is also investigating parallel cases, which are not related to the Task Team’s mandate but are linked with politically related cases with similar suspects and ballistic analysis.


So far 85 such parallel cases have been registered.
Efforts to rid the streets of illegal firearms don’t end there.

Over and above these parallel cases, the team continues to conduct intelligence-driven operations, targeting unlicensed firearms, which has resulted in 86 cases being registered in this regard.

 

The Task Team is conducting intelligence – driven operations targeting possession of unlicensed firearms, which has resulted in 172 cases.
Over 250 unlicensed firearms have been taken off the streets through police operations.



REGION STABILISATION
Members of the media,

With each update to the IMC on the work of the Task Team, it is becoming increasingly clear that the team is working with purpose, agility and is focused on producing results.


Prior to the establishment of the Task Team, we know that cases were not properly investigated, which often led to suspects not being arrested.


Most of these cases were closed undetected or withdrawn and some referred for inquest.
 

Basically, prior to the Task Team's involvement in politically related cases, the cases simply fell through the cracks.
 

Since the implementation of an integrated multi-disciplinary investigation approach of the task team, eight of the province's eleven regions have since stabilised.

We credit the stability in the regions, to the comprehensive work of the Task Team and the consolidated Security Cluster interventions approved by this committee.
 

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 crimes, proactively and reactively in the eThekwini and in the Zululand District.


Ladies and Gentlemen

Investigations of the political killings by the Task Team have revealed that the most affected political parties are the ANC, IFP and NFP.


From the 52 murder cases of councillors, 31 ANC councillors were killed while 14 were from the IFP.The NFP lost 4 of its councillors while the EFF and ACDP lost 2 and one
respectively.
While 52 councillors have been gunned down since 2011 to date.
Alarmingly 103 officials working within municipalities as political office bearers and officials in political offices were killed.

MOTIVES
Causative factors for these crimes are linked to intra-political conflicts with a few cases linked to other motives, such as Taxi violence, domestic related issues, business competition and traditional leadership competition as well as family feuds.
Murder cases that were reported before the 2016 and 2021 Local Government Elections were mainly as a result of fighting over councillors positions; where candidate councillors were eliminated.

Majority of the murder cases reported after the 2016 and 2021 Local Government Elections were associated with infightings within structures and municipalities over positions.

Violent competition between Business Forums over community development projects or tenders was also noted as possible motives.

Moreover, seemingly, there are pockets of society, where the barrel of the gun and not through negotiations decides coalitions.
An investigation by the Task Team has revealed that current tensions within and between political parties (inter and intra), are due to the unstable coalition governance.

SENTENCING
Members of the media,
Whatever the motive, it is quite clear that the prosecutorial-led investigations have ensured water-tight cases.

This is why heavy sentences are being handed down to those who pulled the trigger AND those who have ordered the hit on the province's political players.

For politically related cases and parallel cases of murder, attempted murder, intimidation, extortion, malicious damage to property, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

A total of 100 accused were found guilty on 94 cases.
The Task Team has secured 18 life sentences;

34 accused have been sentenced between 10 to 73 years;

28 accused were handed down sentences between 1 to 9 years with 15 accused sentenced between 3 to 12 months.
All the sentences combined, total to 1 517 years imprisonment.


HIGH PROFILE CASES

Since our last meeting of the IMC, we are happy to announce that there is significant movement in the following cases.

Thabiso Zulu (ANC Activist) paid R5000.00 to the complainant Ms Makamu who is also an ANC member and was pregnant at the time of the incident, the matter was settled through Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Dr Funokwakhe Xulu (IFP Member) was found guilty and sentenced to a fine of R20 000 for Perjury, Fraud and defeating the ends justice for reporting a false case.

Mfanafuthi Zulu (notorious hitman) found guilty and sentenced to a total 10 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC Member Bongani Mhlongo.

Kingdom Phoswa (hitman) found guilty and sentenced to a total of 18 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC Ward Councillor Njabulo Dlamini.

Bongekile Ngcwaba and Thuthukani Mzolo found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each for the murder of ANC Ward Councillor Kheyelethu Mngcwaba.

Ntsazane Mthetiswa, Gutshana Zwelandile, Mcobhoti Aphelile and Ntsethe Bonasile (ANC members) were found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment 25 years each for the murder EFF member Mbhobo Sbusiso.

Mxolisi Mzokhona Gcabashe (Hitman) was found guilty and sentenced to a total of 28 years for the murder of ANC Cllr Minenhle Mkhize 1 x Murder (life sentence), 2 x counts of possession of unlicensed firearm (20 years imprisonment), 2 x counts of possession of ammunition (5 years imprisonment) and 1 x count of Contravention of Section 36 (3 years imprisonment).The sentences will run concurrently with life imprisonment.

Ntathakusa Dladla (Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 30 years imprisonment for the murder of Sandile and Mthokozisi Ndimande on 2 counts; count 1 murder (15 years imprisonment), count 2 murder (15 years imprisonment), both sentences will run concurrently. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Nkosinathi Mantengu (Land Grabber): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 36 years imprisonment for the murder of IFP member Philangenkosi Nkundlane and his son Bongani on 3 counts; Count 1 Murder, sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, Count 2 Murder, sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and Count 3 assault common and kidnapping, sentenced  to 3 years imprisonment.

Thanda Chamane (Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 42 years imprisonment for the murder of IFP Cllr Mfazo Nzuza on 3 counts; count 1 murder (life imprisonment), count 2 possession of unlicensed firearm (13 years imprisonment), count 3 possession of ammunition (4 years imprisonment), the sentences will run concurrently.  Accused 2 Khumkani Gumede found guilty and sentenced on 2 counts, possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition (13 years imprisonment).

Sphamandla Ngcobo (Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 63 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC member Nandipha Bongekile Khema on 6 counts (1 x life sentence) 1 count of Murder, 1 count of Attempted Murder (10 years imprisonment), 1 count of  unlawful possession of firearm (10 years imprisonment) 1 count unlawful possession of ammunition  (15 years imprisonment) and 1 count Theft (3 year imprisonment).

Thembelani Headmen Dlamini (Notorious Hitman, former police officer, turned politician IFP/NFP Official): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 65 years for the murder of Mmeli Xaba on 5 counts; 1 count murder (1 x life sentence), 1 count of attempted Murder (5 years imprisonment),  1 count of possession of unlicensed firearm (15 years imprisonment, 1 count of possession of ammunition (5 years imprisonment) and 1 count of extortion (15 years imprisonment). All sentences of the accused person will not run concurrently and he was declared unfit to possess a firearm. During 2016 Local Government Elections he contested for elections as an NFP candidate, he lost the elections and was allegedly involved in the killing of the ANC Councillor Alwin Houston, matter is currently under investigation.

Felokwakhe Ndlovu (Induna of Kwandengezi area) found guilty and sentenced to a total of 70 years imprisonment with three other accused for the murder of ANC Branch Chairperson Thulani Nxumalo on 4 counts (1 x Murder (life sentence), 1 x Conspiracy to commit murder (life sentence), 1 x count of possession of prohibited firearm (15 years imprisonment) and 1 x possession of ammunition (5 years imprisonment). All counts to run concurrently.

Thabani Ngcobo (Notorious Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 73 years imprisonment for the murder of IFP member Simosakhe Zungu and one other on 4 counts; count 1 murder (15 years imprisonment), count 2 murder (life sentence), count 3 attempted murder (8 years imprisonment) and count 4 murder (life sentence). All sentences of the accused person will run concurrently.

Nkosingiphile Gumede (Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 135 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC Cllr Sibusiso Maphumulo and 2 other on 7 counts, 3 counts of Murder (3 x life sentence), 1 count of Attempted Murder (15 years imprisonment), 1 count of unlawful possession of firearm (15 years imprisonment), 1 count of unlawful possession of ammunition (15 years imprisonment) and 1 count of Robbery (15 years imprisonment).

Mfana Ngubane (Notorious Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 136 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC Cllr Dumisani Moyo and one other on 11 counts (2 x life sentences), 2 counts of murder, 2 counts of unlawful possession of unlicensed firearm (30 years imprisonment) 2 counts of unlawful possession of ammunition (8 years imprisonment) and 1 count of Conspiracy to commit murder (10 years imprisonment), 2 counts of robbery (30 years imprisonment) and 1 count house breaking and kidnapping (8 years imprisonment). Accused appealed his sentence and it was dismissed.

Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli (Notorious Hitman): found guilty and sentenced to a total of 189 years imprisonment for the murder of ANC Cllr Thami Nyembe and 5 others on 6 counts of murder (6 x life sentences), 2 counts of possession of unlicensed firearm (25 years imprisonment; i.e. 15 and 10 years), 2 counts of possession of ammunition (4 years imprisonment) and 1 count of attempted murder (10 years imprisonment). In terms of Section 276B of Act 51 of 1997, the accused Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli will be considered for release on parole after serving a period of 25 years. All sentences of the accused person will run concurrently and he was declared unfit to possess a firearm.  Ntuli is currently be the court and is one of five accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial

 

HIT ORDERERS


The businessman and Chairperson of UMkhanyakude Business Forum
Nkosibeyiphika Elijah Mkhwanazi was arrested and charged and with three others for the murder of IFP member and businessman Thelumusa Mahlaba and murder of IFP member and businessman Siyabonga Sizwe “Sizuzalo” Mthiyane.

He appeared before court and his matter was remanded to 2023-09-13 for bail application.

A second hit orderer case is that of two businessmen Thokozani Tokyo Dlamini and Comfort Mqwembe Mdlalose were arrested and charged for murder of former IFP Ward Councillor Reginald Ngema. The matter has since been remanded to 2023-09-07 for indictments.

ANC Councillor Nkosinathi Gambu was arrested and charged with four other accused for the murder of former ANC Ward Councillor Qashana Mchunu. The matter is set for trial from next month.


ANC Councillor Mkhipheni Mzimuni Ngiba has since been arrested and charged with other four accused for the murder of ANC Councillor Candidate Siyabonga Mkhize and ANC Supporter Mzukisi Nyanga.

 

The five accused have since been denied bail and the matter
remanded to 2023-10-02 for bail application on new facts.

ANC Councillor Themba Mnguni was arrested and charged with other five accused for the murder of three ANC Members, Ncamisile Shandu, Beatrice Nzama and Philisiwe Jili and attempted murder of five other community.

The matter is remanded to 18th of September 2023 for trial.


ANC Councillor Thulani Holi Shozi was arrested and charged for the murder of ANC Youth League Secretary Kingdom Thamsanqa Gcabashe and two Metro police officials Lindokuhle Madonsela and Ndumiso Thusi.

The matter is set for trial from 2023-10-02 to 2023-11-03.


Businessman and ANC member Mbulelo Mpofana was arrested and charged with other three accused for the murder of former ANC Youth League Secretary General Sindiso Magaqa.

The matter was remanded to 2023-10-09 provisional date for trial.

The former ANC Ladysmith Mayor Vincent Madlala was arrested and charged for obstructing and defeating the ends of justice as well as being in unauthorized possession of his daughters firearms. The matter was remanded to 2024-03-06 for trial.


The notorious hitman Siyanda Wiseman Thusi who is a taxi owner has since been arrested and charged with three others for the murder of IFP PR Cllr Mr Robert Sibani Mdletshe.

The matter was remanded to 2024-04-15 for pre-trial conference.


Deputy Director of Engineering at Umnambithi Municipality Nomaswazi Shabalala was arrested and charged with three others for the murder of Director of Engineering of Umnambithi Municipality of Oscar Hlatshwayo.

 

The matter was remanded to 2024-01-22 to 2024-02-23 for trial. All four accused are still in custody.
 

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 councilor Manqele in the Zululand region.

Two suspects have been identified for the killing of councilor Mchunu and arrests are expected soon.

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion…

On behalf of the IMC, I wish to dispel any notion that seeks to cast doubt in the work of the Task Team investigating political killings in the KZN.

Today’s briefing has not only demonstrated the progress in the work that falls within the mandate of the Task Team.
It has also revealed the continuous efforts by the Task Team to ensure that firearms linked to crime scenes and taken off the streets.


The work of the Task Team has been commendable and is fully supported by this IMC.


The committee encourages enhanced and maintained collaboration between the departments of Police, State Security Agency, National Prosecution Authority and Justice and Correctional Services, in order to stabilize the political violence in the province and beyond.


The work of the Task Team extends beyond the KZN borders, its work has also been exemplary in the investigation and ultimate breakthrough of the murder cases in the Fort Hare University in the Eastern Cape where eight people have been arrested and are before the courts.

The Task Team is also assisting in investigations in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

Lastly, As we edge closer to the National General Elections next year, efforts are being solidified to boost the work of the IMC as well as investigations.

In enhancing the work of the Task Team, the IMC has resolved that there will be dedicated courts to speedily prosecute these matters.

 

The IMC again calls for political parties to strengthen internal mechanisms, to defuse inter- and or intra-tensions and instability that may escalate and lead to political attacks and killings.

I Thank you.