Residents puzzled at ‘bribe’ evictions

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Durban - About 100 residents have been evicted from their units at Glebelands Hostel over the past six months, allegedly to make way for those willing to pay a R50 to R100 monthly bribe.

Residents claimed, despite numerous attempts to seek police and municipal intervention, little had been done.

“In light of lack of intervention from the authority, people have resorted to keep their pain to themselves for fear of victimisation,” said a resident who asked not to be named.

Nomwanda Diko, an employee at a home for the aged, and Khumbuzile Mqadi, who is unemployed, were evicted from the hostel about a month ago.

They declined to comment on the bribe allegations.

They claimed they were evicted by men who had said they wanted to help them with the abusive hostel committees.

“I gave them a cold shoulder. A day later while I was at work my daughter phoned me saying a group of about 15 men left a message that we needed to be out of the flat the next day,” said Diko.

She said she reported the matter to the municipality.

“On my return from the municipality, I found new locks on my door and I sought help from the police.

“Sipho Ngobe, the secretary of (the hostel’s) Block 50, had the keys and the door was opened for me. Since then I have been sleeping from place to place and I find it difficult to survive under these conditions,” she said.

Mqadi was forced to keep her belongings in a makeshift garage in the area.

“They told me to vacate the flat immediately,” she said.

Ngobe said it was the residents who wanted the two women out of their units, because they had been “mixing” with the wrong people.

However, the hostel leadership could not substantiate Ngobe’s claims.

The KwaZulu-Natal violence monitor Mary de Haas and community activist Vanessa Burger said the ongoing violence at the hostel was alleged to have been rooted in a racket to extort cash from residents.

“The police should undertake proper and impartial investigation into the eviction matter to end the reign of terror in the area,” they said.

The police said more officers were deployed to maintain stability in the hostel.

eThekwini Municipality had not commented on the issues at the hostel by the time of going to press.

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