Police minister sets up task team to tackle political violence

A multi-disciplinary task team has been asked to probe the killings & take steps to prevent further violence.

FILE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has set up a task team to tackle incidents of political violence.

Nhleko says he is seriously concerned about the "rising number of killings", reportedly linked to the upcoming local government elections.

In some of the incidents which have made headlines, an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporter was shot and wounded during a rally last month in Mpumalanga and three African National Congress (ANC) leaders were gunned down in KwaZulu-Natal last week, in suspected hits.

Nhleko says a multi-disciplinary task team has been asked to investigate the killings and take steps to prevent further violence.

The team includes Crime Intelligence officers, Hawks detectives and other specialised units.

"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," the minister urged in a statement.

With political temperatures running high ahead of the 3 August municipal elections, Nhleko has called on people to refrain from using language that could incite violence.

Nhleko says he's been assured by acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane that incidents of political violence will be prioritised.

His spokesperson Musa Zondi says, "There have been a number of killings that have been ascribed to the political atmosphere. As a result of that a task team has been set up to investigate and prevent these killings as we approach elections in August."