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Police's ability to solve political killings under scrutiny

KZN premier, Willies Mchunu, has been given 30 days to release the findings of the Moerane Commission set up to investigate political killings in KZN. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

KZN premier, Willies Mchunu, has been given 30 days to release the findings of the Moerane Commission set up to investigate political killings in KZN. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Published Aug 20, 2018


Durban – The KwaZulu-Natal Legislature has “condemned the inefficiency of state security machinery” and “raised concern” over the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) ability to arrest the “masterminds” behind politically motivated killings in the province.

The comments are contained in a report titled “Joint Committee Inputs on the Moerane Commission Report”, and dated August 15. 

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The joint committee report comes after a closed session held on August 7, by members of the Premier’s Portfolio Committee and Community Safety Committee within the legislature, which reviewed the Moerane Commission of Inquiry report as part of its oversight duties.

Drafted by the chairpersons of the committees, Nonhlanhla Khoza and Bheki Ntuli respectively, the report called for the “damning allegations [contained in the Moerane Commission]…to be investigated”.

The committee’s comments give, for the first time, insight into what is contained in the Moerane Commission report, which is yet to be made public.

The Moerane Commission of Inquiry was established by premier Willies Mchunu in late 2016 and was tasked with investigating the underlying causes of political violence in the province since 2011, which is believed to have led to the murders of over 100 people to date.

The commission heard testimony from over 60 witnesses and ran for a year.

 “The [joint] committee raised concerns that there seems to be no intention of tracking down the masterminds behind the political killings, and in some instances, the suspects of these murders [being investigated] get killed in unrelated cases thereby leading to cases being withdrawn or evidence being lost [such as in the] Magaqa case,” said the report.

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A former African National Congress Youth League secretary-general, Sindiso Magaqa was shot in July 2017 and died in September 2017 due to “complications from multiple gunshot wounds”.

Whistle-blowers have claimed Magaqa was killed after uncovering alleged corruption in a multi-million-rand community hall renovation tender at the Umzimkhulu local municipality, where he was a PR councillor.

The joint committee also criticised various state security agencies, questioned the Moerane Commission’s alleged bias against implicated parties from the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), demanded councillors be removed from the housing allocation process and called for greater transparency at municipalities.

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“The language used in the report should have been consistent. When it is [Inkatha Freedom Party] IFP killers, [they] are referred to as warlords [but for other political parties] the killers are referred to as activists.”

They also reprimanded the eThekwini Municipality for failing to give evidence at the Moerane Commission about the infamous Glebelands Hostel in Ulmazi and questioned the trustworthiness of the police’s ability to investigate crimes where officers were allegedly involved. 

“What witnesses presented at the commission was not proven as fact, these damning allegations need to be investigated. The inefficiency of state security machinery must be highly condemned as political intolerance in the province still exists,” said the report. 

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The committee added that there was “a need to ensure the efficiency of the justice system” and called for the formation of a joint investigative team comprising the SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority.

The committee also said it supported the recommendations made by the Moerane Commission, including a “cleansing” ceremony led by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. The R15-million Moerane Commission was “money well spent”, said the committee.

African News Agency (ANA)

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