Cele significantly expands political killings investigating team

The new team now includes seasoned detectives from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

Police Minister Bheki Cele today announced the expanded and upgraded team investigating KwaZulu-Natal’s numerous political killings, which includes ushering in a number of fresh, senior policing eyes from outside the province.

The new team now includes seasoned detectives from KZN, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

“The new project team has 118 new members plus eight members from the previous task team who have been retained,” said Cele.

He also revealed that 12 of the 14 cases that had been withdrawn under the former task team had been reinstated under the new team. The cases being investigated had increased from 98 to 126 under the new team, he said.

The eight former team members who had been retained had the skills needed in various investigations and were available to serve, he said.

The new team is a project-driven task team, meaning their time is fully dedicated to solving political killings. The former team had other duties to perform as well as investigating the killings.

Leading the new team would be acting KZN provincial commissioner, lieutenant general Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

Cele was speaking at the South African Police Services (SAPS) provincial head office in Durban about the progress in investigations since the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to probe the killings.

National police commissioner, general Khehla Sitole, joined Cele, as did Mkhwanazi and provincial prosecutions head, advocate Moipone Noko, amongst others.

Responding to questions about allegations of political interference hindering the work of the original task team, Cele said: “It’s a story that we have heard. It’s a story that we don’t have evidence [of].”

He said there was a distinction between information and evidence. The allegations would not be ignored he said, but they would not be rushed either.

“It will be part of answering what happened with some members [who had been released from the team] who had not behaved or performed as they were expected.”

He also said that using the word “compromised” for some former team members would be inappropriate until investigations had concluded.

The National Prosecuting Authority had dedicated 16 experienced and seasoned prosecutors to the team, he said. Advocate Cyril Selepe would lead the prosecuting team.

Cele said he was “satisfied” with the work the team was doing.

African News Agency (ANA)

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