Durban – Political killings in KwaZulu-Natal challenge the notion of whether South Africa is a rule of law nation or not, said Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Mbalula was addressing the media on Friday at the infamous Glebelands Hostel where 93 people have been killed.
He said the murder of politicians continued unabated in the province since January last year.
“We view murder and intimidation of politicians as a threat to our constitutional democracy and the state itself.”
Mbalula said the killings have continued even after numerous interventions from government, traditional leaders and police.
“The use of hired killers is a worrying factor for peace and stability. National security itself is directly assaulted or threatened when a hired killer sees it [as] a normal thing to ... [assassinate] a politician for whatever reason,” he said.
“The degeneration of the rule of law starts with having armed militia masquerading as private security companies. Many of these companies are suspected of being involved in political killings,” he said.
Mbalula said many people register security companies in the country in order to own heavy firearms.
“The private security industry regulatory authority, which is under my ministry, has been instructed to do a nationwide audit of the security companies offering close protection services or body guarding. The audit will include other data collection in making sure there’s compliance with the law. Companies found wanting will lose their operating licenses,” he said.
Mbalula said police have noted the display of weapons in viral videos from this province from the same private companies.
Two bodyguards of eThekwini regional secretary Bheki Ntuli can be seen on the video cocking an AK-47 and threatening to “kill the dog”.
The video surfaced shortly after the shooting of former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa.
The ANC in KZN said the bodyguards have been suspended pending an investigation.
A danger to society
“We’ve said these companies pose a danger to society. Strong regulation is required hence there is a bill before the president (Jacob Zuma) to sign. The bill will go a long way in addressing many of the related challenges,” he said.
Mbalula said he has instituted an integrated provincial task team comprising of the Hawks, detectives, crime intelligence and the national prosecuting authority to be focused on political killings.
He reiterated that not only hitmen will be arrested but “also their paymasters”.
After his walkabout at the Glebelands Hostel, Mbalula revealed that a satellite police station will be opened in the next seven days at the troubled hostel.