SACP alleges political interference in arrest of member
16 October 2017
Durban – The South African Communist Party (SACP) in KwaZulu-Natal believes there was political interference in the arrest of its district secretary in Umzimkhulu.
Brigadier Jay Naicker said the 45-year-old leader has been charged on Saturday for illegally being in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
He told News24 on Sunday afternoon that the man was still in custody following his arrest during a roadblock.
“A 9mm Norinco pistol with eight rounds of ammunition was found in the vehicle. A 45-year-old man who was in the vehicle was arrested after he failed to produce a valid licence to possess the firearm and ammunition. He was taken to Ibisi police station where he was detained and charged for being in possession of a firearm and ammunition illegally,” Naicker said.
He is expected to appear in the Umzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
However, SACP’s provincial secretary Themba Mthembu on Sunday said the firearm is licenced but at the time of the arrest the leader was not carrying the licence.
“The party is disturbed by reports, which it hopes are untrue, that there was a direct instruction from the ANC and police ministry directing police not to release the SACP leader. The SACP is dismayed at the spectacular failure of policing which is characterised by blunders in which wrong suspects are arrested to deflect attention from real criminals,” he said.
“The same modus operandi was used in many areas where there had been politically motivated killings in KwaZulu-Natal where police deliberately arrest wrong people to protect real killers,” Mthembu said.
Five ANC officials have been killed in Umzimkhulu this year for apparently fighting corruption.
Nkosinathi Ngcobo, an employee at the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Municipality, was shot dead on October 2.
Ngcobo, a former ANC branch chairperson, was employed as a clerk responsible for the councillors in the municipality,
His death followed that of former ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa who died in hospital in September after his shooting on July 13.
In April, Harry Gwala ANC region deputy secretary and Umzimkhulu municipality speaker Khaya Thobela was shot dead.
In May, former Umzimkhulu councillor and branch leader Khaya Mgcwaba was gunned down.
Later that month, Mduduzi Tshibase‚ a teacher and Umzimkhulu councillor, was killed at his home in Umzimkhulu.
Mthembu said the SACP does not condone the fact that its leader was not carrying his licence.
He said the SACP was deeply disturbed that even after attempting to produce the licence, their leader was still being held “in a desperate attempt to implicate the party in the ongoing killings in the area”.
“The fact that a directive came from the police ministry not to release him despite him supplying licence details is baffling and smacks of an act of victimisation. The SACP calls on members of police not to allow themselves to be used in party political agendas,” he said.
ANC KZN spokesperson Mdu Ntuli said the SACP was politicising the matter, “and also polarising alliance relations unnecessarily".
“Nonsense, the ANC cannot instruct the police,” he said in an SMS.
Acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Bheki Langa said police had taken note of the speculation and comments in the media following the arrest.
“We appeal to the community and all other leaders in that area to remain calm and allow police to do their job. Given the number of high profile deaths in that area one should expect that police officials will act firmly if people are roaming around carrying firearms and ammunition without valid permits,” he said.
Langa said the leader and his wife have not been able to produce a valid permit for the firearm and ammunition.
“The matter needs to be investigated further and the suspect will be afforded an opportunity to state his case when he appears in court,” he said.