Photo: Supplied

Durban - The Independent Community Activist for Human Rights & Social Justice said on Tuesday that community members had reported that a resident of Block 48 in KwaZulu-Natal's notoriously violent Glebelands hostel had died in "a hail of bullets” at the area's Chiefs Tavern.

Independent Community Activist for Human Rights & Social Justice spokesperson Vanessa Burger said the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

"The deceased was allegedly shot at least nine times and is believed to have died at the scene. The suspect, purportedly also a resident of Block 48, is apparently still at large. The motive for the murder is not yet known."

Burger said this was the third incident at Glebelands, near Durban, in less than a week. 

"At around 10pm near Block M on 26 July a taxi belonging to a former Block R peace committee leader was shot at and badly damaged. The vehicle was parked at the time and luckily no one was inside. The preceding night security guards at the new construction site below Blocks H – K were reportedly tied up and valuable equipment stolen."

Burger said street lighting had not been working at Glebelands for more than three weeks, and complaints to hostel administration continued to elicit no response despite the recent upsurge in crime, and now, a murder.

"The eThekwini Municipality’s failure to provide street lighting - the most basic of security measures - to residents constitutes negligence and the willful endangerment of life of property."

"It also exposes the costly year-on-year roll out of hostel ‘security measures’ as nothing but an opportunity to disperse the public purse among politically connected contractors. The municipality must be held liable for all recent incidents."

Burger said it would be disingenuous for authorities to claim, as they had previously, that the most recent murder did not happen at Glebelands, Chiefs Tavern being mere metres from the nearest hostel block, or that the lack of lighting was not a contributing factor. 

"It does not take a rocket scientist to work out that guns can be moved and suspects hide more easily from police under cover of darkness."

"This is not the first time the municipality's failure to maintain adequate lighting has contributed to hostel dweller's deaths and was included among remedial actions required by the Public Protector in her report on Glebelands a year ago. It is shameful that this once respected institution is failing in its oversight capacity to monitor implementation of its own recommendations and hold the delinquent state accountable. Glebelands still remains in darkness."

South African Police Services spokesperson Thulani Zwane said police had received a report of a murder where a 26-year-old man was shot dead at a tavern in Reunion. 

"It is alleged that the victim and suspect were consuming alcohol at the tavern when they got into an argument."

Zwane said according to patrons at the tavern, it was alleged that both men went outside and continued with the argument. 

"Patrons then heard a gunshot and found the victim dead. The suspect had allegedly fled the scene. The suspect is known and is expected to be arrested soon."

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African News Agency (ANA)