Fears of clashes after hostel killing
Durban - THE killing of a resident of Glebelands Hostel in uMlazi and the attempted assassination of an ANC branch treasurer at the weekend have heightened fears of more violence at the volatile complex.
The attacks occurred amid political tensions between two factions, with some residents supporting the local councillor and others wanting him ousted.
Two weeks ago another hostel-dweller, identified as Sifiso Mngadi, was killed near Glebelands. He was shot dead and his body dumped on Griffiths Mxenge (Mangosuthu) Highway.
KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison spokesman, Kwanele Ncalane, said yesterday it was believed the latest violence was triggered by disputes over housing and bed allocation in the hostel.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed a case of attempted murder had been opened and investigated by uMlazi SAPS after Thandiwe Ntombela, 41, was shot at the hostel on Saturday afternoon.
Ntombela, an ANC branch treasurer, is recovering in hospital.
Thothenhle Shinga, 39, was shot on Thursday night and his body was found on the highway on Friday morning.
Police said no arrests had yet been made.
The Daily News reported recently that there had been more than a dozen killings at or near the hostel over the past year.
A hostel resident, who did not want to be named because he feared for his life, said yesterday that he had seen Ntombela a few hours before she was attacked.
“Nothing seemed to have worried her. She was walking from one block of flats to another block where she stays.
“She was talking to people along the street and I have no idea where the attacker might have come from, but I am sure he must have been keeping an eye on her all the way,” he said.
“When she arrived at her block, just when she was about to start walking up the stairs to her room, a man came from behind. Those who were around said when she turned around she was shot instantly.
“He (the attacker) then ran down to the road (Griffiths Mxenge Highway) where he got into a white VW Golf that sped off.”
Another resident who also did not want to be named said gunshots were nothing unusual at the hostel.
He said police were present and patrolling every day, but he feared it was not going to be easy for them to stop the killings.
“Assailants here know very well who they are targeting and everything about their targets. There are a lot of people staying here and one cannot know everyone. People are always walking up and down, and you wouldn’t know who is targeting who because there are a lot of hitmen here,” said the resident.
“One thing important here is not to talk too much about this tension because you do not know who takes notes of which side a person is on. Rather not be vocal about politics here.”
Bongani Mthembu of hostel-dwellers organisation Ubunye Bamahostela, who was shot in the leg while trying to escape a hail of bullets last month, said the violence was part of a continuing problem over rentals, dating from 2006.
He said the issue could be resolved if all parties involved were prepared to discuss the issue.
“We should be frank with each other,” he said, adding that the block chairman and the Ward 76 councillor, Mshiyeni Mzobe, should be part of the discussions.
Mzobe welcomed the police presence at the hostel, but when he was asked to elaborate this morning. he but put down the phone.
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu called for calm and restraint, saying no amount of violence would solve problems for Glebelands residents.
“There are interventions that are being explored to resolve the situation. We are working with all structures inside and outside the hostel to bring about stability and peace. We urge all peace loving residents to denounce violence and intimidation,” said Mchunu.
He said the current problems at Glebelands could not be resolved because of continued acts of violence and attacks.
ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikala called for police to strengthen their operations at the hostel.
l The IFP’s candidate for the Ward 12 by-election in the Newcastle area, Thanduyise Norman Mkhwanazi, was stabbed four times outside his house yesterday. Nothing was stolen from him.
“For us, to see a candidate moving outside his house and stabbed at the gate, it shows something sinister,” the party’s national chairman, Bless Gwala, said yesterday.
“It appeared to be politically motivated, so they disadvantage the IFP as we move towards the by-elections taking place on September 17. We view such incidents as assaults on our hard-fought-for democracy,” he said.