Durban - A dangerous cocktail of criminality, politics, severe under development and corruption in the allocation of houses has been blamed for the recent spate of killings at the KwaMashu hostel.
About 20 block chairmen from the hostel met yesterday to try to resolve the conflict which has seen two people shot dead and two others injured in separate attacks.
The meeting was facilitated by the KZN Department of Community Safety and Liaison as part of its ongoing efforts to stabilise the hostel.
The meeting, held at the Ntuzuma police station, follows that of various political leaders who have committed to peace.
A number of police officers from outside the province have been deployed to the area because there are fears of an outbreak of political violence before the general elections in May.
But some of the block chairmen said while there was political tension in the area, crime remained the main underlying factor in many of the killings.
A block chairman, Christopher Sibiya, said they had been “overpowered” by crime.
“We really feel helpless and would appeal that all the surveillance cameras that are in the area be activated so they can be used to track down criminals,” he said.
Other chairmen agreed, saying the hostel had become a den for criminals.
They also urged police to conduct foot patrols, as some of the areas could not be accessed by car.
“The police should just come in unannounced. We also need to get rid of the shacks because they are a source of criminal activity,” claimed another block chairman.
It also emerged during the meeting that there was unhappiness with the allocation of the council flats in the area.
Some of the residents claimed that the waiting lists had been manipulated, while others said local political leaders had removed people from their homes to set up political offices.
This was also identified as a source of crime.
As part of the solution, the block chairmen resolved to seek the intervention of government in the allocation of houses.
Community safety MEC, Willies Mchunu, urged all role-players to work with the police towards finding lasting peace in the area.
“This was a very important meeting. It gave us perspective of what is going on at the hostel.
“The idea was to discuss possible measurers that could bring about peace,” he said.