WATCH: Affiliations don’t matter, we are here to find a criminal - Bheki Cele
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Durban - Minister of Police General Bheki Cele said on Wednesday that the investigation into the recent killing of an EFF and South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) member from the Msunduzi Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, Thulani Shangase, was an act of criminality unless the investigations reveal that he was killed because of his affiliations.
While speculation around the circumstances of Shangase’s death are rife, Cele said that alcohol continued to be a problem, as the late EFF candidate was partaking in alcohol before he was murdered.
Cele was speaking outside the family home of Shangase, who was gunned down on Sunday outside an illegal tavern near his home in the Plessislaer area in Pietermaritzburg after returning from an EFF election campaign event.
As the country edges closer towards its local government elections, Cele said that police are investigating the deaths of six people in KZN that may be politically linked. He said a special task team designated to political killings will investigate the cases.
“The issue here is the problem of diversity, which is not our problem. People talk about the taxi industry, talk about the politics but that's not what we are looking for. What we are looking for is a criminal that murdered a person. It doesn't matter what affiliations or choices of that person. We are going to look around all issues that might have led to the murder of Thulani.
“We went to the crime scene and we do like to raise the issue that alcohol continues to give us problems. Where he was killed, we know that they were having some drinks. So we do need to look at this issue that alcohol sometimes can be a real generator of these kinds of situations,” Cele said.
Video: Jehran Naidoo/IOL Politics
According to the deceased’s family, Shangase was returning from an EFF campaign meeting in the Harewood area on Sunday when he stopped to pick up another party agent. While waiting outside the area of the illegal tavern, Shangase was shot.
In light of the recent spate of so-called political killings, the minister said all voting stations across the country, which are over 20 000, have been profiled and categorised according to its risk level. He said that the majority of high risk voting stations are in KZN.
“There are those stations that are high risk, about 300 of them, that are around the country. Unfortunately most of those that are at high risk are from this province (KZN), Gauteng, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. So police are planning around that,” the minister added.
He said the police will be working with the South African National Defence Force to help relieve some police officials to ensure voting stations have ample presence. He said not a single station will be without a Saps member.
Santaco members also came to the family home to show their support for their late member. Regional chairperson in uMgungundloveu district Bheki Sohkela said that he believed the murder of Thulani Shangase had nothing to do with the taxi industry.
“Shangase was working very well with the taxi industry in uMgungundlovu and he used to help our drivers and owners to make sure there is stability on the road. If there was anything he didn't understand, he used to call me. I used to go out and assist him,” Sokhela said.