'We are working hard to ensure that KZN is not turned into a killing field' - Cele

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Police Minister Bheki Cele provides an update on police investigations into mass shootings that have recently claimed the lives of 14 people who were gunned down in two separate incidents in Inanda and Richmond earlier this month. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
Police Minister Bheki Cele provides an update on police investigations into mass shootings that have recently claimed the lives of 14 people who were gunned down in two separate incidents in Inanda and Richmond earlier this month. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)
  • Police Minister Bheki Cele says several people have been arrested in connection with last month’s mass killings in Richmond. 
  • Those arrested are between the ages of 21 and 43. 
  • Cele has vowed not to allow the province to once again become a "killing field". 

Seven suspects aged between 21 and 43 years old have been arrested in connection with an alleged drug-related attack that left eight people dead in a house in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal, on 14 January. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced this on Wednesday afternoon while giving an update from the Durban Central Police station on investigations into the mass killings in KwaZulu-Natal that claimed the lives of 14 people who were gunned down in Inanda and Richmond.

Cele, who was accompanied by Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale, Deputy State Security Minister Zizi Kodwa and Hawks head General Godfrey Lebeya, said it was unheard of that 14 people be killed in two brutal incidents all in the space of 24 hours. 

One attack took place in Richmond, where eight people were killed, including a teenage girl. In a separate attack in Inanda, six men aged between 17 and 26 were killed.

READ | Eight shot dead at an alleged drug house in Richmond, KZN

"Yes, indeed, the recent multiple murders of the 14 people shot and killed sent shock waves. This happened in 24 hours. Fourteen people being killed brutally in two crime scenes is simply unacceptable. It is on this score that myself and the deputy minister made our way to this part of the country as soon as the news broke," said Cele. 

He added that the police ministry and SAPS management were working hard to ensure that this type of violence did not become the order of the day in KwaZulu-Natal. 

I want to take this opportunity and make it clear that the police ministry and the SAPS management, both at national and the province, will not sit back and allow the province of KwaZulu-Natal to be once again be turned into a battlefield. As such, we are working hard to ensure that KZN is not turned into a killing field.

"This is why, during our visit with the deputy minister last week, we did not mince our words when we said that the SAPS needs to up their game and that the investigation teams should always be two or three steps ahead of these criminals who are always trying. Much progress has been made in the Richmond multiple shooting that claimed eight lives.

"The shooting took place on the 14th of January, and a multi-disciplinary operation was conducted in the Richmond area, which resulted in the arrest of seven suspects aged between 21 and 43 years old, who were arrested in different locations. They were found to be in possession of several high calibre firearms and ammunition, including being in possession of drugs," said Cele. 

With regards to the Inanda shooting, the police minister said investigations were ongoing, and that the police were following up on strong leads.

READ 'They are under siege'- 8 eThekwini councillors under guard after death threats

Cele also revealed that there had been 229 mass shootings in KwaZulu-Natal over the past 10 months, which had resulted in 531 fatalities.

He added that a majority of these shootings had taken place in the eThekwini and uMgungundlovu municipalities, and that there were heightened fears that these places could become killing grounds. 

"While the motives for some of these attacks are still the subject of police investigations, drug wars, retaliation, and revenge remain the leading causes for cases where motives have been established." 

Cele’s briefing comes on the back of eThekwini Municipality Speaker Thabani Nyawose having on Wednesday told News24 that at least eight councillors were under 24-hour protection after having received death threats. 

Cele also recently revealed that SA had 18 000 fewer police officers than in 2010, saying that this was due to a lack of training over the past two years, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


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