Two gunned down despite MEC’s visit
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.