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Longer, analytical article.  South Africa: STOP THE KILLINGS in Glebelands

Summary & Comment: The Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, Durban, once a centre of conflict in the 1980’s with Inkatha is now home to about 22 000 rural migrants, mostly men. It is an African National Congress and South African Communists Party stronghold, but a murderous conflict between two ANC opponents is all-consuming, one supporting ANC ward 76 councillor Robert Mzobe and the other comprising his opponents. These tensions have made it difficult for non-political grassroots organisations that represent residents from nine of Durban’s ten hostels, to speak out against killings in the area. MM.

Author: Staff Writer Date Written: 4 May 2015
Primary Category: Human Rights Document Origin: Right 2 Know
Secondary Category: Southern Region Source URL: http://www.r2k.org.za
Key Words: South Africans, Glebelands, residents, hostel dwellers

African Charter Article #2: Everyone shall enjoy these rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind. (Click for full text...)

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The Right2Know Campaign calls on all South Africans to stand in solidarity with the Glebelands Hostel dwellers and demand urgent action from all relevant government structures to address the torrid situation and prioritize peace in Glebelands.

Up to date, at least 25 people have been reported to have been assassinated leaving families traumatized and without breadwinners. Glebelands has been allowed to become a war zone for political plunder and the government is silent. These killings cannot continue unabated.

There have been widespread allegations of corruption, police brutality, political interference and a general failure by the state to act without fear or favour, or even act at all. The situation at Glebelands Hostel is yet another worrying symptom of the widespread erosion of our democracy, constitutional rights and is a direct assault on the rule of law.

We demand an urgent investigation into the allegations that uMlazi police officers are colluding with criminals involved in the killing of block committee members and the intimidation of members of the uBunye Bamahostela neZakhiwo Zawo, a non-political grassroots organisation that represents over 100 000 residents from nine of Durban’s ten hostels.

We call for whistleblowers to be able to speak out safely. Many of the killings are of those who have persistently requested accountability, transparency and investigation into questionable relationships between police, known criminal elementsoperating within the hostel and local politicians, as well as calling for meaningful community consultation.  This encompasses intimidation, illegal and violent evictions, the existence of a ‘hit list’ and hit squad activity and political factional battles. According to Vusi Zweni, chairman of Ubunye bama Hostela organisation, “Hostels are places where there are many voters [concentrated] in one area. All politicians want hostels as their political bases. There’s a huge fight for power.”

We call for freedom of Expression and Protest. There has been a long pattern of the violation of the organised and more progressive hostel dweller collectives’ rights to freedom of expression and protest. Last year the KZN Premier banned community meetings while the police have consistently targeted specific hostel leaders for seemingly false arrest, denied them bail and disregarded protection orders. There have been numerous cases of police assault and torture – including that of a woman – while one man died during interrogation. For example, last year Thulani Kati, the former block P committee chairperson detailed how he was handcuffed and driven to the Glebelands sports ground where he was tortured by the police. Thulani was killed on Friday, 10 April 2015.

The hostel dwellers have been trying to access information regarding room allocation, hostel refurbishment and development plans and participate freely in municipal decision making processes. These are the ordinary secrets for ordinary people, and the lack of answers is fuelling the violence.

R2K urges civil society and religious community to take a collective stand and call on the government to STOP THE KILLINGSand to donate for affected families and legal fees.

Donations may be made to this account:

Account holder: The Right 2 Know

Bank: Standard Bank

Account Number: 07 022 865 5

Branch Code: 020909


Ignore the right2know, and you ignore the right2live. We call for eyes on these issues, and this community.

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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s) and not do necessarily reflect the views of the AfricaFiles' editors and network members. They are included in our material as a reflection of a diversity of views and a variety of issues. Material written specifically for AfricaFiles may be edited for length, clarity or inaccuracies.

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