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'Long-term solutions needed to tackle political killings'

The ISS says the establishment of a special task team may reduce incidents in the short-term.

Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says the establishment of a special task team to tackle political killings may reduce incidents in the short-term, but longer-term interventions are needed.

On Sunday, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko said he was seriously concerned about the "rising number of killings" reportedly linked to the upcoming local government elections.

To counter this, he established a multi-disciplinary police task team.

The team comprises Crime Intelligence officers, members of the Hawks and other specialised units.

The institute's Gareth Newham has welcomed the minister's initiative, but he says there's more to do.

"We also need to see political intervention where, for example, political parties take strong action against those members who either call for violence or are involved in violence and believe that it's an acceptable means of solving problems."

Most political killings in post-apartheid South Africa have been in KwaZulu-Natal.

However, the institute's research shows the conviction rate is very low.