Task team to probe murder of Durban ANC councillor, says police boss Bheki Cele

25 June 2020 - 17:12 By Zimasa Matiwane
Police minister Bheki Cele visited the family of slain Umlazi councillor Bhekithemba Phungula on Thursday.
Police minister Bheki Cele visited the family of slain Umlazi councillor Bhekithemba Phungula on Thursday.
Image: GCIS

The murder of an Umlazi ANC councillor has been referred to the task team investigating political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, said police minister Bheki Cele.

Cele visited the family of Bhekithemba Phungula, a ward councillor and ANC branch chairman, on Thursday.

Phungula was killed in a hail of bullets by unknown assailants at his Umlazi home on Tuesday.

“It's a political leader that has been killed ... the results of an investigation will tell us what happened but we have a special team that deals with political killings in this province, this case has been handed over to them,” said Cele. 

The minister also revealed that “more than 200 people have been arrested out of the political violence” which ravaged  the province in the build-up to the 2016 local government elections. 

In May, Philip Mkhwanazi, a councillor at the Mtubatuba local municipality and who served as the ANC chief whip, was shot dead.

eThekwini ANC Youth League branch secretary Thamsanqa Kingdom Gcabashe was shot dead in the Hammarsdale area on the same day.

Cele said though the task team had made arrests, more needed to be done to nab the kingpins. 

“The arrests include a lot of hitmen, but usually those people get paid and maybe we have not done very well with the paymasters.”

The minister, however, is optimistic that ongoing cases could provide justice. 

“We have sharpened the team, the team works with prosecutors so that cases are prosecution directed by the time we take them to court.

“There are several ready cases but as we have said, the situation (pandemic), we have been victims of that,” he added.


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