Cele: 8 politically connected people murdered ahead of Nov elections

This time next week, South Africans will be casting their ballots in the local government elections, and questions around safety have been raised, given the recent, politically motivated killings in parts of the country.

Police Minister Bheki Cele during nedia briefing where he gave deatil on policing during the COVID-19 lockdown. Tuesday, 22 September 2020: Picture: Twitter/@GovernmentZA

JOHANNESBURG - The justice, crime prevention and security cluster has on Monday confirmed that eight politically connected people were murdered in the lead up to next Monday’s polls.

South Africa has been stained with politically motivated killings over the years with the problem, which was mainly prevalent in KwaZulu-Natal, spreading to other provinces.

This has raised concerns about the use of violence to deal with the competition.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said six people were killed in KwaZulu-Natal including the recent murder of African National Congress councillor candidate Siyabonga Mkhize.

But there were other cases too: “In the Western Cape, the councillors have been killed there too.”

The police recorded about 33 political murders in KZN between 2016 and June 2017 with three other ANC councillor candidates gunned down just days before the 2016 local government elections.

Cele said there were other potentially politically related crimes committed including the attempted murder of a councillor in KwaDukuza.

WATCH: Ahead of 1 Nov polls, police to bolster presence in violence hotspots

SAFE, SECURE ELECTION

Cele has assured South Africans that the security cluster is capable of ensuring a safe and secure election.

This time next week, South Africans will be casting their ballots in the local government elections, and questions around safety have been raised, given the recent, politically motivated killings in parts of the country.

The violence and looting seen in July in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is also still a concern for many citizens.

Cele said despite a police station in the Northern Cape being robbed of guns and ammunition recently, the police could deliver.

He said this was an exception: “We have 1,158 police stations in the Republic of South Africa, and we are talking about one that was targeted. Criminals now want to take their chances.”

Thousands of police officers will be deployed country wide to secure voting stations and maintain law and order on election day with others already stationed in problematic areas.

While Cele would not divulge the number of officials, he said the Western Cape, KZN, Gauteng and the Western Cape had been identified as hotspots.

The army will also be stepping in to assist the police.

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