In a written parliamentary reply on Tuesday, Nhleko said there were 40 detectives within the SA Police Service who had “received additional training relating to occult-related crimes”.
These included activities, spiritual practises, or rituals “which draw on forces hidden from normal human senses, beyond the obvious physical realm” and which led to criminal activities that broke the country’s laws.
Nhleko said SAPS did not have a dedicated occult crimes unit.
Investigations in this category included muti-related offences, the illegal initiation industry, dangerous cult movements, and protecting people persecuted due to their alternative belief systems.
A further area in which the 40 officers operated was in “assisting [police] investigators who feel intimidated due to nature of ‘strange’ cases”.
Nhleko’s reply was tabled four days after Halloween. The question was posed by Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard.