Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said the police often experienced challenges in tracing the masterminds who hire hitmen.
Mkhwanazi was speaking at the two-day Provincial Community Policing Indaba at the Garden Court Marine Parade Hotel on Thursday. This is the first policing indaba to be held in the province. The indaba, which was attended by other law stakeholders, aimed to strengthen the relationship between the police and the community.
Police Minister Bheki Cele was recently quoted saying that in almost all the assassinations that took place around the country a hitman from KZN would be found.
Mkhwanazi said the hitmen issue was like a disease.
“We have this disease in our province, it is like a pyramid. The person who orders the hit would sit on top and pass a message to one and that one would pass the message up until the very person who is hired to execute. The person who executes does not know who ordered the hit, he would know the person who hired him, picked him up and gave him the gun. That person may know a person who paid the money to get a hitman and the chain becomes that long,” he said.
Mkhwanazi said the justice system unfortunately, had to become transparent, and the moment they arrested someone, the media publicised that. “The hitman would sometimes say who hired him but when we look for that person he is dead and we are unable to find the mastermind. That is the problem.”
Speaking about political killings in the province he said they were concerned even though they did not surpass the number of ordinary citizens being killed every day.
He said the cause was within the political parties because they fought among themselves for positions.
The KZN Police Deputy Commissioner, Major-General Phumelele Makoba said crime-fighting should be an apolitical environment.
“Politics should not be involved,” she said.
Crime does not choose, and it knows no boundaries.
The provincial Director of Public Prosecutions at National Prosecuting Authority advocate Elaine Zungu, said they were relying on communities to be witnesses in court. She urged the stakeholders to discuss the issue of the safety of the witnesses.
“We also have to talk about the issue of how we protect our witnesses. The witnesses are being eradicated, as law-enforcement agencies we also need to better protect our witnesses,” Zungu said.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.