South African police to tighten security as election violence fears rise
More than 10 people are suspected to have been killed in politically motivated violence across South Africa recently, as the country ambles towards local government elections next Wednesday, the Police ministry said.
In the latest incident, a ruling ANC council candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in Port Elizabeth, Nceba Dywili (35), was gunned down by two unknown people on Tuesday night.
Addressing a media briefing in Cape Town, Police minister, Nathi Nhleko, could not provide the exact number of the number of people killed in incidents related to the political contestation ahead of the August 3 polls.
The police will be deployed throughout the country in the run-up to and after next Wednesday’s municipal polls to maintain law and order, the police minister said.
Nhleko was also giving an update on a special task team set up to investigate politically motivated killings.
Nhleko said, while the majority of the cases being investigated were in KwaZulu-Natal, they were investigating at least four murders in other provinces.
Murder cases were reported in Doornkop in the North West, in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape and in Salvation in Mpumalanga.
The task team in KwaZulu-Natal is made up of seven detectives, five members of the police crime intelligence unit, four members of the Hawks, and 11 people that previously worked with the province’s taxi violence task team.
“We felt it was important to pull them into the equation precisely because you may find it’s possible that one particular case has got similar kinds of suspects in one form or another, precisely because most of these cases you’ll find hitmen are being used and some of these hitmen are operating in the taxi industry,” Nhleko said.
The country heads to the polls next week in what many have described as a litmus test to ANC’s rule since it took power in 1994. Local polls have shown that the ANC might lose some major metropolitan areas, including Tshwane, which includes the capital, Pretoria.