The Inter-Ministerial Task Team on political killings in KwaZulu-Natal has achieved multiple successes and a more than 80% conviction rate of murder suspects police minister Bheki Cele reported on Wednesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, established the IMC, consisting of Ministers of State Security, Defense, Justice and Correctional services and Minister of Police, following the escalation of politically motivated killings in KZN in 2018. The committee’s mandate was to ensure that the perpetrators of politically related related crimes are brought to book and to put an end to political violence in KZN.
Cele said the task team had recorded a 66% detection rate had 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. Forty-six accused have been found guilty of which 30 were convicted for murder,” Cele said.
“Out of 34 murder cases, 9 life sentences were handed down,” he said.
He said a further 22 accused had been handed down sentences ranging from 10 to 50 years imprisonment. A further 12 accused had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years or less in jail and the remainder were still going through the legal process.
“In addition, 69case 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,” Cele said.
“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 107cases being investigated. Over 200 unlicensed firearms have been confiscated and are now off the streets,” he said.
Cele said that apart from the murder probe the task team had also conducted firearms compliance inspections in over 25 security companies, municipal properties, a gun shop and 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 (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority) Regulations,” he said.
Cele said it was “concerning” that law enforcement agencies had been involved in crimes.
“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,” he said.