Task team to investigate political killings


A multi-disciplinary task team has been set up to investigate political killings and where possible, to prevent them from happening in the build-up to the local government elections.

The team will be made up of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) from different units, including Crime Intelligence, Detectives, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and other specialised units like Forensics, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said on Sunday.

There have been reported attacks and killings linked to politics, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

Minister Nhleko has expressed his serious concern at these incidents, saying a situation like this cannot be allowed to continue, especially in the context of democracy.
“We have noted with serious concern the incidents of killings, particularly where political figures are victims or where the killings are being linked to the upcoming local government elections.”

The Minister called upon all members of the public or political parties, who have the information on the killings to make the information available to the police so that these can be investigated quickly and thoroughly.
“We appeal to all responsible South Africans who value their democracy to ensure that this situation is not allowed to continue by giving information at their disposal to the police so that these killings can be stopped and for perpetrators to face the full might of the law,” said Minister Nhleko.

He added that he had received assurance from the Acting National Police Commissioner that these cases will receive priority attention.
“With the heated temperature because of the upcoming elections, we are appealing to all to refrain from instigating violence or to use language that may be deemed to incite violence.
“This is also an appeal to political leaders and parties to give democracy a chance and allow all to exercise their political freedom as enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.

The South African Policing Union criticised the move, saying it was disappointed at the “double standards on killings in the country. SAPU has been on record calling for a specialized unit that will deal with the continued senseless killings of police officers to no avail. We welcome his appointment of a task team to probe political killings with reservations. We are of the view that minister Nhleko acted swiftly on these political killings simply
because they involve his political organisation the ANC.
“We want to state categorically clear that we take these political killings seriously and to us any killing of a human being is a crime and therefore totally unacceptable. We are just disappointed that the police minister has not yet taken the issue of police killings seriously. If there is police official killed you can hardly hear a word of condemnation from the police minister let alone any measure to stop these merciless killings of the men and women in blue.
“We are calling for an independent task team to probe these political murder cases. This latest development by the police Minister falls short on independence. We smell a rat as it could be manipulated like the Hawks seem to be. Once again SAPU takes this opportunity to make this plea to the Minister to swallow his pride and establish a specialized unit to deal with police killings,” SAPU said.