Defend Truth


Glebelands Hostel and KZN killings continue, elections or no elections


Vanessa Burger is an independent community activist for human rights and social justice.

The reign of terror by faceless – and not-so-faceless – assassins in KwaZulu-Natal in general, and in Glebelands Hostel in particular, continues despite at least one of the alleged assassins supposedly being in jail.

A former Glebelands Hostel Peace Committee member narrowly escaped death a few hours after voting in the national elections at Glebelands Community Hall in Ward 76, Umlazi, Durban on 8 May 2019. The man, who had joined friends for a braai after casting their votes, was on his way back to his block shortly after 7pm when he heard screaming behind him. He looked around and saw a man pointing a gun at him. Luckily the gun repeatedly misfired, the hitman aborted the attack and ran away.

There were many witnesses and the suspect is well known at Glebelands.

Earlier that afternoon the shooter had been seen among a group of thugs who had allegedly given a hostile reception to a group of residents who arrived at the hall to cast their votes. Residents expressed surprise at seeing this hitman back at Glebelands so soon after he was sent to Westville Prison. He was apparently arrested in February 2018 after being found in possession of unlicensed ammunition. Presumably, he received bail because only a few months later he was linked to another shooting at Block 56. The victim survived and it seems the hitman went back to prison. But only six months later, he is back at Glebelands, back at work.

A former resident of Wema Hostel, like his victim, the hitman hails from Harding. He carries the same surname as one of the “Glebelands Eight” – a group of alleged hostel hitmen including a Durban Central SAPS detective currently awaiting trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for multiple charges of murder and attempted murder as well as racketeering and extortion. Residents claim the rogue cop recruited him.

During the Glebelands 2016 peace initiative, the same Peace Committee member said he had received death threats. He was told he would be “shot in the head”. There were suspicions at the time that his recent attacker may have been behind those threats.

Although the victim reported the attack, as of Saturday 11 May, he had still not received a case number from the Umlazi Police Station.

In the meantime, hostel leaders are back on high alert and questions need answers. How is it that a repeat offender keeps getting bail? Who are the magistrates involved? Why the delay in issuing a case number?

Further to the Glebelands incident, a sudden spurt in post-election violence across the province has left seven people dead in less than a week – an IFP member was killed at a voting station in Matimotolo on the day of elections; four people were killed at Mpembeni (including two children) on Friday night, 10 May, a bloody development in the ongoing slaughter of community members opposing mysterious local mining deals; while on Sunday evening, 12 May, two ANC officials and businessmen were reportedly gunned down in Newcastle’s central business district.

In his closing arguments to the Moerane Commission of Inquiry into KZN’s political killings, evidence leader Advocate Bheki Manyathi proclaimed, “Glebelands Hostel is central to KZN’s violence…” and that although “A peace committee was established … and it yielded results… it was apparently disbanded by the government with no reasons being given. eThekwini Metro up to provincial level, are deliberately turning a blind eye to Glebelands because they are benefiting from the chaos”.

Since the Commission’s conclusion in early 2018, although many hostel hitmen have been arrested, and are awaiting trial and Glebelands has seen a significant reduction in violence, many more killers are still out there. Others are, or will still be, beneficiaries of the catch-and-release policy that perverts this province’s criminal justice system.

The ANC and provincial government have conveniently ignored the Moerane Commission’s recommendations – for what they were worth. Similarly, the rapidly-decomposing eThekwini Municipality and Department of Social Development have persistently disregarded the Public Protector’s remedial actions recommended for Glebelands.

We may have weathered another “democratic” election but structural violence – the deadly combination of poverty, unemployment, inequality, state neglect, political instability, entrenched corruption, zero accountability and hopelessness – continues to provide fertile grounds for the recruitment of dehumanised young men who pin their hopes for a better life on successfully placing a bullet in someone else’s brain.

While these seven post-election killings and Glebelands attempted assassination are obviously not linked, the common denominator is a brutally corrupt, vampire state.

We wish you luck, President Ramaphosa, as we continue dodging bullets
in this bloody “new” dawn. DM


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