Cele appoints a new team of experienced police officers to investigate political killings

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CAPE TOWN, August 3 – Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday said a new team of experienced police officers and state prosecutors have been appointed to continue the investigation into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

“As a way of progress, we have taken a decision to change the members of the task team that was responsible for the investigations into the political killings. The new project team has 118 new members plus eight members from the previous task team who have been retained,” Cele said in Durban.

“The human resources includes seasoned and experienced detectives from various provinces including KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. The team comprises of 126 members led by the Acting Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi and Brigadiers Ngwenya and Khumalo.”

Cele said the National Prosecuting Authority has seconded 16 “experienced and seasoned prosecutors” to ensure proper case management and effective prosecutions.

The team’s progress included the arrest a fortnight ago of six people in connection with political killings in the province. Two firearms were recovered that have subsequently been linked to eight cases, the minister said.

He added that the work was part of a national drive to bring all provinces to a point of “stabilisation” in terms of crime and said it was reaping the fruit.

“You may recall that at the beginning of June this year the national commissioner of police and myself pronounced on the implementation of stabilisation interventions throughout the country after the country has been plagued by a number of crimes of fear including political killings here in KwaZulu-Natal.”

As a result, he said, since June, police have arrested 512 suspects in KwaZulu-Natal for the illegal possession of firearms and seized 706 illegal firearms, including semi-automatic rifles, high calibre rifles and homemade guns.

“A total of 6,045 rounds of ammunition were also taken away from our streets,” he added.

The task team was established after President Cyril Ramaphosa in May ordered the Cabinet’s security cluster to ensure that all high profile and political murder cases in the province be solved, saying it could not be allowed to be “the killing fields” of the country.

The president did so after visiting the family of African National Congress (ANC) activist Musawenkosi “Maqatha” Mchunu, who was gunned down in the driveway of his Pietermaritzburg home on May 11. Mchunu had demanded that the ANC regional executive committee be disbanded and that corruption in the municipalities under the uMgungundlovu district be investigated.

– African News Agency (ANA)