×

We've got news for you.

Register on SowetanLIVE at no cost to receive newsletters, read exclusive articles & more.
Register now

‘They have to meet their maker to liberate society’: Malema on hitmen syndicate behind KZN killings

EFF leader Julius Malema says criminals have become celebrated figures in some communities. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema says criminals have become celebrated figures in some communities. File photo.
Image: EFF media/X

EFF leader Julius Malema believes the government has not done enough to clamp down on violent killings carried out by a growing syndicate of hitmen in KwaZulu-Natal, while some criminals “become more dangerous in prison”.

Malema addressed party members in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.

“Crime is at a level where there are people who are well-known killers, and we even give them Zulu names, iinkabi. They are walking killing machines and the state cannot do anything about it. They have become celebrated individuals in our communities. We are scared to talk because we are going to die,” he said.

The red berets' leader said the establishment of a police special task team in 2018 to investigate political killings did not deter the hiring of hitmen. 

“I always send Marshall [Dlamini], our secretary-general, videos every time people kill each other in KwaZulu-Natal, and I ask him what is the problem with this province? Why do people kill each other with ease? This has been going on and was supposed to be stopped 30 years ago, but it has become worse.”

Malema claimed some “well-known” criminals become more dangerous when behind bars.

“We have criminals who are more dangerous when they are in prison than when they are outside. Then why should we keep them? They have to meet their maker to liberate society.” 

In the latest crime stats, KwaZulu-Natal accounted for the second highest number of murder cases between July and September 2023 despite recording a decrease. Murders in the province declined from 1,857 during the same period last year to 1,603.

Police minister Bheki Cele said the decrease in murder stats in the province was encouraging. 

“It remains encouraging that KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo reported double-digit percentage decreases in their murder rates. This is despite KZN experiencing many mass shootings claiming three or more lives at a time,” he said.

“While the Inanda and Umlazi police stations, which have previously reported the highest number of murders in the country, are still leading in this crime, they have reported decreased murder numbers during this reporting period.” 

Cele, speaking in September, said he was confident the task team investigating political killings was making headways in the province. 

He said the team investigated 321 cases, which included 134 cases reported from 2011 until June 2018, before the commencement of work by the task team. The minister said 52 councillors had been killed in the province since 2011.   

“The cases under scrutiny include 155 murders, 51 attempted murders, 77 of intimidation, 12 of conspiracy to commit murder [and] 26 other cases. So far, the work of the team has resulted in the arrest of 348 suspects who have been charged in 233 cases.

“A total of 62 suspects have been convicted while 155 are going through court processes, and 17 arrested suspects have since died during court processes,” he said. 

The political parties most affected by killings are the ANC, IFP and NFP. 

“Alarmingly, 103 officials working within municipalities as political office bearers and officials in political offices were killed.”

TimesLIVE

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.