Investigators making inroads into KZN political killings: Bheki Cele
Police minister Bheki Cele has revealed that the task team set up to investigate a spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal had opened 163 dockets.
Addressing the media in Durban on Thursday, Cele said of the 163 dockets, 80 cases were for murder, 24 for attempted murder and 36 for intimidation and other charges.
• 25 people who were detained for questioning and released;
• 136 suspects who were charged, with 16 in custody;
• 32 suspects on bail, and
• 27 convictions.
Cele also revealed that two suspects had died in custody, five had been sentenced to life imprisonment and 22 were serving between six months and 50 years in jail.
"While we consider these successes of 163 cases to be very significant, it is even more encouraging to note that from 163 case dockets, (there are) 52 finalised dockets thus far."
The police minister said in six of the 59 cases currently pending in court, charges had been provisionally withdrawn against some of the suspects.
"Among the six cases that have been provisionally withdrawn, some suspects have been re-arrested and their cases have been enrolled in different courts," he said.
High-profile cases which have gone to court include the murder of former ANC Youth League secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, where four suspects were facing charges.
Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe was among those arrested for Magaqa's murder, but charges against him have been provisionally withdrawn due to a lack of evidence. Charges against his co-accused, Zweliphansi Skhosana, were also provisionally withdrawn, while Sbonelo Myeza, 39, and Mbulelo Mpofana, 34, face charges of murder and attempted murder in relation to the case.
"It is also imperative to state that the task team in its nature of establishment is investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, where politicians have been killed, and at times some of the suspects are politicians."
This triggers political fireworks, said Cele.
"Unfortunately, this has been misconstrued as being meddling in political factionalism of political parties using state apparatus.
"It must be emphasised that the investigations and subsequent prosecutions are in accordance with the rule of law and ideas enshrined in our constitution," Cele said.