EXCLUSIVE: Police Minister Senzo Mchunu vows to clamp down on crime, political killings

New Police Minister Senzo Mchunu said they would get tough criminals. | ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

New Police Minister Senzo Mchunu said they would get tough criminals. | ITUMELENG ENGLISH Independent Newspapers

Published Jul 8, 2024


Durban — Newly appointed Police Minister Senzo Mchunu has vowed to fight crime head-on and crack down on political killings.

Mchunu was speaking during an exclusive interview with the Daily News recently.

He said he was readying himself to whip criminals back into shape and warned all would-be criminals that the teeth of crime-busting would be sharpened.

Mchunu, from Hlabisa in the north of KZN, said they would tighten the noose around the neck of wrongdoers.

“We will make our country a better place to live in again. My role is to make our law enforcement agencies powerful again. We want our citizens to feel safe and be happy again,” said Mchunu.

Mchunu replaces Bheki Cele, who is now jobless after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his seventh Cabinet last week.

On the political killings, Mchunu said: “No one killing is greater than the other. However, we want to make those who kill people for political motives to be brought to book. No one should be killed for political positions.”

KwaZulu-Natal is a province known for rife political killings, especially local councillors.

Party faithful, mostly from the ANC, are mostly caught in the crosshairs of deadly internal party battles.

Mchunu lamented the surging rate of political killings in his home province of KZN, where more than 300 cases have been investigated since July 2018 by the multidisciplinary police task team investigating political killings.

There were 155 police killings.

“Our crime-fighting agencies should, first and most, be the pioneers of peace and order. However, we will not hesitate to restore order, even if we have to ruthlessly crush dissent,” said Mchunu.

eThekwini was an area of concern and now the focus of attention, he said.

Of the 52 murder cases of councillors that were slain in the same period, 31 were from the ANC, while 14 were from the IFP.

The NFP lost four councillors, the EFF two and the ACDP one.

A total of 103 municipal officials and political office-bearers were killed in the same period.

Mchunu is the erstwhile premier of KwaZulu-Natal from 2013 to 2016 and also a former minister of public service and administration.

Mchunu lauded his predecessor, Bheki Cele, who has been relegated to the political wilderness by his one-time ally Ramaphosa.

“Ndosi (Cele’s clan name) has worked very well in a bid to rid our country of crime. We’ll take off from where he left in his efforts to fight crime,” he said.

The ongoing killings at the notorious Glebelands Hostel in uMlazi, south of Durban, were also a headache for Macingwane, (Mchunu’s clan name which he is affectionately called by his close aides).

“We also want to make our hostels in KZN and Gauteng to be the safest place to be,” said Mchunu.

The chairperson of Ubuntu bamaHostela, Vusi Zweni, said: “We have full confidence in Mchunu’s capabilities to fight crimes, especially the killings in our hostels. We will give him full support as hostel dwellers so that we fight crime together.”

The gang violence-ridden Western Cape would also be a focal point for Mchunu.

“The killings in the Western Cape will not be tolerated. What we see happening there (Western Cape) will not be tolerated in the country. We will deal with the criminals decisively.”

Mchunu’s appointment has received a nod from the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru).

Union spokesperson Richard Mamabolo said: “We are hoping that the current minister will take up these matters to ensure that they are urgently addressed.”

Mamabolo urged Mchunu to tackle the issue of political killings head-on.

“Our new minister (Mchunu) must not hesitate to crack down on suspects who are behind political killings in our country.”

KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said she hoped Mchunu would “effectively” fight crime.

“We can only hope that he will be able to effectively fight crime. At this point, all we want as citizens is safety,” said De Haas.

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