The South African Police Service Major General Leon Rabie says 18 cases of politically-related murders were reported between 1 February and 5 August 2016.
A further eight cases of attempted murder were reported in the same period, with Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal being the hotspots.
The Major General said this when the police, led by Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, briefed the Parliamentary Committee that is tasked with providing oversight on policing over the handling of violent protests and killings that occurred during the pre-election period.
Giving a breakdown of the charges in relation to election violence on Wednesday, the Major General said the most reported offence was intimidation, which resulted in 29 charges being laid.
This was followed by assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, where 21 charges were recorded.
“[For murder] a total of 18 cases were reported with the highest number of 13 being in KwaZulu-Natal, four in Gauteng and one in the Eastern Cape,” he said.
He said eight cases of attempted murder where reported, with three coming from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape recording two cases each, and the remaining one reported in Limpopo.
Other cases that were reported, include armed robbery (1), crimen injuria (9), common robbery (4), theft (8), business burglary (182) and malicious damage to property (110) – taking the total number of cases to 406 reported during this period.
The Acting National Commissioner said the violence that played out during this period, especially the senseless killings, were regrettable.
“We regret that during a period like this, we experienced these unfortunate killings, not that it is acceptable for people to be killed at any time.”
The Acting National Commissioner said he believed that the conviction of those implicated should serve as a deterrent going forward.
Specialised units deployed to election hotspots
The Major General said, meanwhile, that police increased the deployment of personnel to hotspots around the country.
This included areas that were affected by the nomination process, against demarcation results and political tension, which resulted in political campaigning and IEC activities being affected.
“Intervention in the form of stability operations in these areas was paramount,” he said.
In relation to hotspots, based on violent protests and criminal activities, police identified 56 areas in Limpopo, 40 in KwaZulu-Natal, 36 in Gauteng, 30 in North West, 25 in the Western Cape, 23 in the Eastern Cape, 12 in Mpumalanga, seven in the Northern Cape and three in the Free State.
In relation to demarcation cases, nine hotspots were identified in Limpopo, seven in KwaZulu-Natal, seven in the Eastern Cape, five in North West and three in Gauteng and Free State.
He said 90 specialised units made up of the Special Task Force, National Intervention Units and Mobile Operations Units were deployed in KwaZulu-Natal, 105 in Limpopo and another 90 in Gauteng.
He said out of the total 782 number of cases recorded between February and 5 August 2016, 168 were referred to court, while 510 were still under investigation.
Approximately 490 suspects were arrested during this period and two have been convicted, and 12 were withdrawn. – SAnews.gov.za
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