14 arrested over political killings

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The bulk of the killings have taken place in KwaZulu-Natal

Cape Town – Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says 14 people have been arrested following a parliamentary task team probe into recent politically-motivated killings in the country.

The police minister briefed the media at Parliament’s Imbizo Centre on Wednesday. He was joined by acting SAPS Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza.

Nhleko said it was important to treat the matter with urgency and to provide clarity given the recent spate of murders in five provinces ahead of the August 3 elections.

“The bulk of the killings took place in KZN, but there’ve also been incidents in other provinces,” he said.

A case of murder each has been registered in Gauteng, the North West, the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga.

One person has been arrested in Gauteng and six in the Eastern Cape.

Fast-tracking cases

The other seven were all arrested in KwaZulu-Natal.

In KZN, the task team has recorded 25 politically-related incidents since January, Nhleko continued.

Fourteen of those related to cases of murder and attempted murder. The other 11 related to incidents of arson, public violence, culpable homicide and damage to public property.

Nhleko said that the police were working with the NPA to ensure that the cases of murder are fast-tracked at the various courts in KZN for the sake of the upcoming elections.

“We will continue to do what is necessary so that these matters can be resolved. They can’t go unresolved.

“We’re quite committed in ensuring we have peaceful elections in the country. We have successfully done that over the years.”

Hotspots identified

Nhleko and Phahlane said that two police officers will be dispatched to each voting station on election day, while half the national police force will be working on the day.

“We’ve identified hotspots right across the country. In our nature of deployment, focus is going to be informed by the type of circumstances in each area,” Nhleko said.

“Two police officers are usually dispatched to each voting station. In a voting station where we’ve had a history of public violence, we will not stick to two.”

The police have also not met with any political parties over the cases, but have been assured of their co-operation, Nhleko added.

Several electoral candidates, a majority of whom were African National Congress members, have been murdered in the past few months. At least 12 murders have taken place in KwaZulu-Natal.

Attack on IFP members

An ANC councillor in Port Elizabeth was killed on Tuesday evening, News24 reported on Wednesday.

On Saturday, people wearing allegedly ANC T-shirts killed two Inkatha Freedom Party members in uMtshezi, KwaZulu-Natal.

National Freedom Party member Anna Madonsela was stabbed to death in Newcastle last week.

Also last week, an ANC ward candidate in Ladysmith was shot by a man he said he knew. He survived the incident and is now in Johannesburg.

In June, an ANC member was shot and killed outside the Tshwane Events Centre. An ANC candidate councillor in Newcastle was shot dead in front of her husband and children earlier this month.

Source:News 24