Home South African Phoenix murders: Arrests now at 36, three more security companies being probed

Phoenix murders: Arrests now at 36, three more security companies being probed

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Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited Phoenix and the neighbouring townships of Bhambayi, Zwelisha and Amaoti in Durban on Sunday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Police Minister Bheki Cele has assured all those who lost loved ones that justice will be served.

THE NUMBER of suspects arrested for their alleged role in the Phoenix murders in the north of Durban has now risen to 36 from 22.

Also rising in the matter is the number of Phoenix-based private security companies who are being investigated, as it has risen from four to seven.

The updated information was revealed by Minister of Police Bheki Cele, when he visited Phoenix and the neighbouring townships of Bhambayi, Zwelisha and Amaoti in Durban on Sunday to give them feedback regarding the matter.

Addressing the community of Phoenix, Cele said the number of people that were killed still stands at 36. However, he said that when they started only 27 of these were regarded as murders, while the rest were treated as inquests.

He revealed that further digging by the team of 31 top detectives assigned to the matter has revealed that out of the 36 people, 33 of them were killed.

Cele told the communities, once more, that during the mid-July unrest that led to the killings the police did not do their job, hence some communities decided to go it alone in trying to restore order.

“The police did not do the job that they were supposed to do initially … Hence communities took over,” Cele said.

He also did not shy away from saying the attacks had racial undertones, as most black people who were attacked were not attacked because they were found engaging in illegal acts, but they were attacked because of their race and they happened to pass by the area during the time of the unrest.

Cele also repeatedly assured all those who lost their loved ones that justice would be served, and said the first step towards that was arresting all those suspected of having killed people.

Responding to growing public outcry that those arrested for the Phoenix murders did not have their faces and names revealed to the public, Cele said his justice and correctional services counterpart Minister Ronald Lamola had told him that was because there was a pending identity parade.

Turning to the issue of private security companies, Cele said they would face the law for their role in the matter.

It was during these revelations that he said the number of private security companies that are being investigated has risen to seven, from four.

“Private security companies played a role that they were not supposed to play … They gave us names of those companies and I know that there are seven of those companies that are being investigated,” he said.

Political Bureau

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