Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed that the task team appointed in July 2018 to investigate political violence has made 161 arrests to date.
Addressing the media at a conference in Durban on Thursday, 28 March 2019, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) has made 161 arrests to date. The task team was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in July 2018 to “resolve the shockingly slow progress on more than 132 murder investigations in the province.”
“To date, out of 163 case dockets – 80 counts for murder, 24 for attempted murder, 36 for intimidation, and other charges – a total of 161 arrests have been effected by the task team,” Cele said.
Cele said out of these 161 arrests, 25 suspects were detained for questioning and later released, 136 suspects have been charged, 66 suspects were taken into custody, 32 suspects are currently out on bail, 27 suspects had been convicted for murder, two suspects were deceased, five had been sentenced to life imprisonment while 22 had been given sentences ranging from six months to 50 years. Cele also said that 59 cases were currently pending in court while 52 dockets were still under investigation.
“On six of the 59 cases currently pending in court, charges have been provisionally withdrawn against some of the identified suspects. Among the six cases that have been provisionally withdrawn, some suspects have been re-arrested, and their cases have been enrolled in different courts,” Cele said.
Cele stated that the task team had also been successful in making arrests for high-profile cases, including arrests for the murders of Sindiso Magaqa, Londiwe Mhlongo, Derick Mthethwa, Wandile Ngobeni, Sibuyiselo Dlamini, Qashana Mchunu and Sibusiso Mbhobo.
“There are investigations [being] conducted by the task team [relating to the] murders of the chief traffic officer of Umvoti municipality Thobani ‘TM’ Ndaba, who was killed in November last year, the director of Alfred Duma municipality Oscar Hlatshwayo and the murder of a traffic officers Sifiso Gwala, Nhlanhla Zibula and Nathi Zondi,” he said