South African Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says the police have made several arrests in relation to alleged political killings in KwaZulu-Natal Province and other parts of the country leading up to next Wednesday’s local government elections.

Briefing the media here Wednesday on the work of the task team which was established to tackle cases related to alleged political killings and other incidents, he said 25 cases had been recorded in five provinces and he added that all of them were politically-related incidents.

“To date, we have had 25 politically-related violent incidents that have been reported to the South African Police Service. Fourteen of those cases are murder and attempted murder. Two of those are cases of arson,” added Nhleko.

“Two of the 25 [are] related to public violence cases, and two other cases relate to assault GBH [grievous bodily harm] and the pointing of a firearm. One case relates to damage to property and the other case relates to culpable homicide.

“In so far as the murder cases are concerned, we have had seven arrests effected. On attempted murder, we effected two arrests. On the possession of unlicensed firearms, we have had three arrests. On the cases of public violence, we have had eight arrests.

“On the cases of assault GBH and pointing of a firearm, we have had three arrests.”

Since March this year, a spate of incidents and killings linked to candidates who were nominated to stand as ward councillors for the local government elections have been reported in several provinces including North West, Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

For KwaZulu-Natal, where the large number of incidents has caused a “heightened level of concern” in society, a task team was established by Nhleko. Other focus teams were formed in other provinces as well.

The task team comprises seven detectives, five crime intelligence members, four members from the Hawks — the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation — and 11 members from the taxi violence task team.