Gle­be­lands shoot­ing

Two gunned down de­spite MEC’s visit

Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS NDALISO

TRANS­PORT, Com­mu­nity Safety and Li­ai­son MEC Mx­olisi Kaunda’s re­cent visit to the no­to­ri­ous Gle­be­lands Hos­tel in uMlazi was not a de­ter­rent for the killing of in­no­cent peo­ple, an­gry res­i­dents said yes­ter­day.

Two hos­tel res­i­dents, a man and a woman, were mur­dered on Wed­nes­day night. The 32-year-old man was shot sev­eral times by an un­known gun­man out­side Block P, at about 8pm. He died in hos­pi­tal yes­ter­day.

The woman, 53, was fa­tally shot in­side her room in Block 46 by two un­known men a few min­utes later.

They both owned spaza shops but the po­lice were not sure if the mur­ders were linked.

Pro­vin­cial po­lice spokesper­son Colonel Them­beka Mb­hele said the po­lice could not give de­tails, as the killings were un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Res­i­dents who did not want to be named said peo­ple’s lives were in the hands of “out-of-con­trol” ban­dits whose han­dlers could not man­age them any more.

Dur­ing his visit to the hos­tel two weeks ago, Kaunda as­sured res­i­dents that gov­ern­ment took their se­cu­rity con­cerns se­ri­ously.

“He (Kaunda) as­sured us that the CCTV cam­eras in­stalled were help­ful, as they were mon­i­tored by po­lice at an undis­closed venue 24 hours a day. He also said he would in­crease the num­ber of po­lice sta­tioned at the hos­tel. That has not hap­pened.

“In his part­ing note, he asked us if we felt safe through his pres­ence. Even though no one was pre­pared to stand up and talk, we re­sponded in uni­son and told him that we were go­ing to be harmed that same evening. That is when he as­sured us that we had noth­ing to fear. Yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day) we were proved right to fear for our lives,” said one res­i­dent.

“Vis­its by politi­cians are mean­ing­less. These mur­der­ers kill with im­punity and politi­cians don’t care. For­mer Mayor James Nx­u­malo vis­ited. So, too, did for­mer Premier Senzo Mchunu and Wil­lies Mchunu when he was Com­mu­nity Safety MEC, and other mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials. Peo­ple are still dy­ing. Af­ter they leave, bod­ies pile up.

“More than 20 000 peo­ple live here and about 90 per­cent of them are vot­ers. It’s a huge num­ber for this ward (76) and that’s why those im­pli­cated are not dealt with be­cause if that hap­pens, then one party loses more than 15 000 votes or more.”

The res­i­dents said de­ploy­ment of sol­diers, with pe­ri­odic unan­nounced raids, could bring some sta­bil­ity to the hos­tel.

“We no longer care about who is be­hind these killings be­cause we know that who­ever it is has lost con­trol of his hit­men. All we care about is re­mov­ing these killers so that peo­ple can live with­out look­ing over their shoul­ders all the time,” he said.

Last week, the Mo­er­ane Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, set up by Premier Wil­lies Mchunu to in­ves­ti­gate the un­der­ly­ing causes of po­lit­i­cal killings in KZN, vis­ited the hos­tel.

The visit was based on in­for­ma­tion given by wit­nesses at the in­quiry that some of the (po­lit­i­cal) killings could be traced back to the hos­tel.

“Even af­ter the com­mis­sion’s visit, blood is still flow­ing and more peo­ple will be killed be­cause there is no po­lit­i­cal will to bring sta­bil­ity to this hos­tel. We are per­se­cuted and we are yet to see some­one se­ri­ous enough to end this mad­ness,” said an­other res­i­dent.

Kaunda re­ferred the Daily News to his com­mu­ni­ca­tion team for com­ment, but they could not be reached at the time of pub­li­ca­tion.

Vanessa Burger, an in­de­pen­dent com­mu­nity ac­tivist, said the woman was with her 14-year-old grand­daugh­ter when she was killed.

There is no of­fi­cial num­ber of peo­ple killed at the hos­tel, but the Daily News re­ported ear­lier this month that more than 60 peo­ple were killed over a twoyear pe­riod (2015/16). Burger said the re­cent killings brought the num­ber to 91.

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