Durban – A private security guard and a resident were shot and killed at uMlazi’s crime-ridden Glebelands Hostel, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Saturday.
Another guard was seriously injured in the shooting on Thursday night.
This brings the death toll for the past week at the notorious hostel complex to three, following the death of a 26-year-old man at Chiefs Tavern, situated at one of the entrances to the hostel, last Sunday.
Three days prior to the tavern shooting, a taxi owned by a resident, which was parked at the hostel, was shot at multiple times. No injuries were reported, according to police.
Responding to questions about Thursday’s double murder, police spokesperson, lieutenant colonel Thulani Zwane, said two cases of murder and one of attempted murder were opened at Umlazi police station on Friday morning.
“A security guard was shot and killed and his colleague was wounded at Glebelands Hostel just before midnight on 2 August 2018. The wounded security guard managed to alert police officers at the Glebelands satellite police station,” said Zwane.
“The second murder was also reported [on Friday] where a 70-year-old man was allegedly shot and killed while he was in his room at Glebelands Hostel,” he said.
Zwane said police were investigating and working “around the clock” to establish if the killings were linked and if they were attempts “by certain individuals” to destabilise the hostel.
“Residents of the hostel are requested not to fall into the trap of responding to violence with violence and to continue to liaise with police should information on the alleged perpetrators surface,” said Zwane.
The notorious complex, which houses about 22 000 people, has experienced a relative lull in killings since the arrest of the so-called Glebelands Eight, who were detained between December last year and April.
The eight men – one of them an undercover detective at Durban Central Police Station before his arrest - are currently awaiting trial for crimes including murder and attempted murder that allegedly took place at the complex between 19 August 2014 and 26 March 2016.
The State is alleging that the accused conspired to form a syndicate with the common purpose to kill Glebelands' residents in order to take control of the hostel and acquire control of payments made by hostel dwellers.
Commenting on the recent incidents, independent community activist for human rights and social justice, Vanessa Burger, said that investigations had to be broadened to include the alleged role of hostel hitmen in assassinations across the province and allegations of police and political involvement in the killings.