- Police Minister Bheki Cele was in Durban on Wednesday as part of an intelligence-driven operation
- Cele declared that more than 250 weapons connected to political killings were confiscated in the province since 2018
- The minister said the politically-motivated murders primarily affected three parties in the ANC, IFP and NFP
PAY ATTENTION: Follow Briefly News on Twitter and never miss the hottest topics! Find us at @brieflyza!
DURBAN - Minister of Police Bheki Cele felt encouraged as he announced the seizure of more than a quarter of a thousand weapons connected to a spate of political killings in KwaZulu-Natal in the past several years.
Speaking on intelligence-driven operations by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Durban on Wednesday, Cele said more than 250 firearms and 289 people have been arrested since 2018 as the police work to combat politically-motivated killings in the province.
"In this time, a task team has combed through [at least] 258 dockets, translating to a total of 289 arrests so far. Compared to the year before, this was 32 dockets more," said Cele, citing the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) had the highest prevalence for political killings.
The National Freedom Party (NFP) was another political organisation prone to having its members killed, with Cele saying several factors contributed to the violence, News24 reported.
PAY ATTENTION: Never miss breaking news – join Briefly News' Telegram channel!
More work is being done
"The reasons for the killings include in-fighting, taxi violence and other issues that are more domestic. But it's imperative to mention the substantial headway the task team has made," said Cele.
Of the 250 plus arrests that resulted in convictions, Cele said 10 suspects were handed life sentences, with 22 others being slapped with 10 to 50-year sentences. He added that 12 accused got less than 10 years' imprisonment. Further, 72 suspects have been remanded in custody, while 43 are out on bail, and another 13 dead.
"Charges against 71 suspects have been withdrawn, and 31 were found not guilty by the courts. The task team is in the process of conducting other operations, yielding 172 cases," added Cele, according to TimesLIVE.
South Africans smell a rat
As usual, social media was abuzz with talk of Cele following the announcement, with many berating him for a lacklustre approach towards fighting crime in the country. Others accused him of having his priorities skewed.
@Rubin Wareley wrote:
"If these firearms were linked to political killings, then that somebody or area where they found the firearms must be linked to a certain political group and it should have a name...otherwise the police are fishing."
@Nobuhle Mthethwa said:
"What's the point, those firearms mysteriously make their way back to the same people they were seized from."
@Duncan MacDonald added:
"26 000 firearms have been lost by the police - what happened to them?"
Cele hits out at claims he, daughter partied in CPT
Elsewhere, Briefly News previously reported that Cele was painted as a hypocrite on social media after an online user claimed the politician and his daughter, Khumbuza, partied at a nightclub on 31 December.
Khumbuza was celebrating her 24th birthday at Coco nightclub in Loop Street situated in Cape Town's City Centre on New Year's Eve, according to entertainment blogger Musa Khawula in a now-deleted video.
Cele denied the allegations and has threatened to take "the necessary legal action" against Khawula, provided the claim is not retracted. He also demanded Khawula to publish an apology, TimesLIVE reported.
Source: Briefly News