Cape Town - Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has revealed that more than 20 suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of traditional leaders in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The provincial department has advised that a total of 26 arrests have been made,” Dlamini Zuma said.
She was responding to parliamentary questions from IFP MP Bhekizizwe Luthuli, who asked how many arrests had been made since 2012 for the killing of traditional leaders.
Luthuli said the assassination of traditional leaders in KZN had become an alarming matter requiring urgent attention.
“In view of the fact that residents are being robbed of the traditional leaders’ valuable leadership skills, what action has the Department of Traditional Affairs taken to address the surge in the killing of traditional leaders,” he said.
Luthuli also asked if steps had been taken to open a commission of inquiry into the killings.
In her response, Dlamini Zuma said the government was concerned about the killing of traditional leaders.
“I have requested the minister of police (Bheki Cele) to put together a team to investigate this matter. We have also raised the matter with the KwaZulu-Natal Cogta and they have advised that they are collaborating with law enforcement agencies,” she said.
Dlamini Zuma said interventions had been put in place including entering into a memorandum of understanding with the KZN Department of Community Safety and Liaison and the provincial House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders.
Imbizos were held in all 11 districts and a provincial imbizo to hear the views of traditional leaders and the matter was reported to the justice, crime prevention and security cluster.
The KZN executive council has directed that the provincial priority committee on chieftaincy be re-established as a sub-committee of the provincial joint operational and intelligence structure.
“A commission of inquiry has not been established, however, a number of interventions have been put into place including the establishment of the community safety intervention unit within the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to primarily deal with these violent crimes,” Dlamini Zuma said.