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Durban - ‘We are not finished with you. We will be back until we have dealt with each and every one of you.”
These were the chilling words from disgruntled Dalton Hostel dwellers as they wielded traditional weapons.
They had allegedly been responsible for a vicious attack on whoonga addicts in Botha Park and lower Glenwood on Monday night.
The mayhem was ignited by residents of the Umbilo hostel’s apparent frustration with crime over recent weeks - which they blame on the addicts.
The drama unfolded at about 8pm on Monday when a mob of hostel dwellers allegedly launched an assault on the whoonga addicts.
The incident has sparked outrage from residents of surrounding suburbs, who on Tuesday took to social media to express their ire.
Armed men marched to Botha Park in King Dinuzulu (Berea) Road and apparently attacked the vagrants and whoonga addicts there.
Heather Hayward Rorick, founder and counsellor at the Glenwood/Umbilo Crisis Centre, said, “The incident spilled over into the residential areas. I was standing at the side of a shop with a friend, in Davenport Road, when everyone started running. About 14 men armed with knobkieries, bricks and sticks with nails were chasing and assaulting these people (whoonga addicts and vagrants).
“About five to eight people were hitting this young girl. They were bumping into pedestrians on the pavement. We were screaming. It was horrible,” she said.
She said the violent mob attacked everyone in sight. And when she tried to intervene, she was told: “Shut up, you white bastard.”
“The hatred, the anger, it was just terrible,” she said. Some of those attacked were car guards in the area, she said.
She berated city authorities for not intervening, warning there would be more vigilante attacks if they did not act.
“The problem here is (that) one day the wrong guy’s kids or wife or family will get hurt and he is going to lose the plot and go on a shooting spree. Unless the government actually pulls their fingers out and does something besides talk,” Craig “Oldmanondamove” Stuart posted on Facebook.
The deputy city manager for health and social services, Musa Gumede, confirmed the incident.
“We are aware that most of them (addicts) have moved to King Dinuzulu (Berea) Road from Albert Park… As you might be aware the city has the Qalakabushe (Start Afresh) programme which has been phased in. The first phase has been linked with social deve-lopment, for rehabilitation and reuniting addicts with their families. The second phase is crime prevention,” he said.
He said police visibility of both metro police and SAPS would increase in residential areas “with motorbikes roving in the areas”.
Police spokesman Jay Naicker said the police responded to the incident.
“A skeleton assault docket will be opened by Umbilo SAPS for further investigation,” Naicker said.
No formal complaint had been laid with the police and no witnesses had come forward to identify the perpetrators.
Hostel dwellers on Tuesday threatened to step up their efforts to eradicate the whoonga scourge should the city fail to do so. They said they remained concerned about crime.
A resident at the hostel, who asked not to be identified, said the issue with the addicts had reached boiling point.
Nkosinathi Mchunu, 39, who left with a gaping head wound, said he was surprised by the attacks because he did not take whoonga and survived by selling cardboard.
“I don’t understand why I was hit because I don’t live with the addicts,” he said.