8 arrested after hostel violence

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sa  mashu5 INLSA The silver grey Fiat Uno belonging to Sapa journalist, Giordano Stolley, engulfed in flames at the KwaMashu Hostel. File photo: Patrick Mtolo

Durban - Police have arrested eight people for public violence and malicious damage to property after people were injured when at least 20 cars were stoned near the KwaMashu Hostel on Sunday.

A journalist’s car was also set alight.

The spike in violent confrontations and political killings has forced the IEC to postpone yesterday’s signing of a peace pact between parties in the province.

Thabani Ngwira, IEC provincial spokesman, said the signing had been re-scheduled indefinitely.

“We have done this because of the political unrest and the violence in certain areas,” he said.

He said that the body would make an announcement with regard to when the pact would be signed.

Sunday’s incidents took place when NFP president Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi was driving to the hostel in convoy with party members for a meeting at a hall.

Police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge, said a group of about 300 people, believed to be IFP supporters, had, however, blocked the road leading to the hostel using skips, rubbish and scrap metal, among other things.

“Public order police were deployed to the area to stop the violence that was happening in the area,” Mdunge said.

“The eight were arrested later in the afternoon and will appear in court once they have been formally charged.”

The NFP leader said at a press conference yesterday that she had never witnessed such mayhem.

She said that it was sad that in a democracy, one party could claim dominance and hegemony of a certain area and publicly undermine the rule of law.

“The NFP is concerned about the political intolerance at the hostel just before the by-election in ward 39 and we fear this might cause resurgence of black-on-black violence as we saw it between the IFP and the ANC, which claimed more than 20 000 lives,” she said.

KaMagwaza-Msibi said they had gone to the hostel to campaign and to ask people to vote in the December 5 by-election.

“The IFP members stoned more than 20 cars and damaged them badly,” she said. “Many of our members were hurt and were taken to clinics for check-ups and treatment. In the light of what the IFP members do in that hostel, the NFP doubts whether the election will be free and fair.

According to kaMagwaza-Msibi, NFP members living at the hostel were even afraid to wear their party T-shirts because their homes would be stoned and the windows broken.

Party agents were scared to do their work there because of threats and the high level of intimidation by IFP supporters, she added.

She called on the IFP to urge its members to desist from causing violence.

“We are in a democratic country and any political party has a constitutional right to campaign freely,” kaMagwaza-Msibi said. “We never thought 18 years into democracy there [would be] members of a political party who would destroy and even burn the cars and property of journalists.”

She said the party sympathised with the journalists who were exposed to victimisation.

“We view these actions as a direct attack on the people who are the vanguard of our democracy – the journalists,” she said. “We are happy that some suspects were arrested and we hope that the law will take its course.”

KaMagwaza-Msibi said the NFP believed in “negotiations, peace and stability” and was committed to multiparty talks.

IFP spokesman, Blessed Gwala, said the situation at the hostel was not out of control.

“What happened was the result of the NFP not announcing that they were going to come to the hostel and not consulting with the peace structures at the hostel who would have informed their members not to interfere.” - Daily News


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