Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu and his counterparts from Gauteng have agreed to explore areas of co-operation in a bid to curb what he says is the free movement of warlords, hit men and guns between the two provinces.
Mchunu said the talks with other provinces, especially Gauteng, had become necessary because some of the faction fights and taxi-related killings plaguing KZN in recent months were planned and financed from hostels in Gauteng.
The hostels were also said to be used as havens by criminals wanted for crimes committed in KZN.
“It has become apparent that those behind the current killings in Matheni and KwaNongoma are using hostels in general and, in particular, hostels in Gauteng, to plot, finance, arm and execute the killings in KZN,” Mchunu’s spokesman Sipho Khumalo said.
The high-level meeting in Pretoria at the weekend came just a week after two suspects, wanted in connection with killings in Matheni in Zululand, were arrested in Benoni.
The two men led the police to a hostel in Gauteng where five firearms and 39 rounds of ammunition were recovered.
The violence in the Matheni tribal authority initially involved two families, but later spread across the traditional area, claiming about 20 lives since the beginning of the year - with some of the killings taking place in Gauteng.
Other provinces such as Mpumalanga and the Free State have also been identified as routes used by warlords to traffic guns into or from KZN.
“We want it to be clear to all provinces that we are not saying they are culprits in this violence.
“The violence emanates from KZN and then it moves to Gauteng… When it arrives in Gauteng, it also creates instability for the people of Gauteng,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu met his Gauteng counterpart, Faith Mazibuko, on Sunday at a meeting also attended by Gauteng MEC for Transport Ismail Vadi and a high-level delegation from Mpumalanga and the Free State.
After the meeting all the parties broadly agreed on a need for interprovincial co-operation, but a technical team had still to work out the details on what areas of co-operation would be explored by the two provinces.
It was expected that these would centre on information sharing and joint law enforcement initiatives.
The meeting in Pretoria was a follow-up to a meeting held in Durban, of Mchunu and Mazibuko, where these issues were first raised.