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WATCH: KwaZulu-Natal moots special courts for political killings ahead of 2024 elections

In a bid to secure a speedy conviction of suspects arrested for political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is looking at having special courts preside over these cases.

The courts would be located in all corners of the province.

Giving his update, Celle said it was not true that nothing was being done to turn the tide against the scourge.

He then announced that since it appears in the eyes of the public that it takes long to conclude these cases, a special court is being mooted.

Elaborating on the matter of the special court case, advocate Elvis Geake from the NPA, who was present during the briefing, said they have already asked the judiciary to have the unused chamber in the Pietermaritzburg High Court utilized for these cases.

Moreover, they would then propose to have other courts across the province, as some of the cases have jurisdictional elements and cannot be heard anywhere.

“Now, when it comes to the issue of expediting all these court matters, we have been engaging with the current regional court president, who has taken over from Nzimande, to identify courts that will specialize in political matters in all four corners of the province.

“For instance, there must be a court on the South Coast; there must be a court somewhere on the side of Newcastle, there must be a court on the side of Zululand; there must be a court on the side of Pietermaritzburg,” Geake said.

“Moreover, seemingly, there are pockets of society where the barrel of the gun, and not through negotiations, decides coalitions.

“An investigation by the task team has revealed that current tensions within and between political parties (inter and intra) are due to the unstable coalition governance,” Cele revealed.

He later added that the National Freedom Party (NFP) has become a victim because it is not able to replace its councilors and is kingmaker in some hung councils.

Cele also revealed that there are only three parties that are heavily affected by the scourge: the African National Congress (ANC), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and the NFP.

He also identified eThekwini and Zululand as the epicenters of the scourge that started showing its ugly head around 2011 and peaked this year.

“From the 52 murder cases of councilors, 31 ANC councilors were killed, while 14 were from the IFP.

“The NFP lost four of its councilors, while the EFF and ACDP lost two and one, respectively, while 52 councilors have been gunned down since 2011 to date,” Celle said.

During the briefing, Celle and Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, the police commissioner in KZN, admitted that some of their police officers leased their State-issued guns to hitmen to commit political killings.

Mkhwanazi said some of these guns are hired from private security companies that are legally registered.

“So, we have had our own that we have arrested, South African Police Service (SAPS) members involved with the murder of councilors … Some firearms are coming from security companies that are not necessarily reported as stolen, but they have been hired by criminals.

“So, it’s all those different means that criminals are able to get the firearms that they use to commit these crimes,” Mkhwanazi said.

To curb the abuse of State firearms, Mkhwanazi said they are looking at ways they could track SAPS firearms by fitting them with tracking devices.

Cale lambasted some political parties, saying they always shout at the police for doing nothing, yet the threats are coming from within.

He gave an example of a political party where he said its leader had security beefed up, not because he was facing external threats, but because the threats were coming from within the party.

Cale also could not deny the information that initial investigations regarding the attempted murder of Mphathiseni Maneli, a councilor of the NFP in Nongoma, showed that those who wanted him dead were within his own political party.

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