18 July 2017

South Africa: 89 People Murdered and Not One Arrest At Glebelands Hostel

Photo: Nomfundo Xolo/GroundUp
Glebelands Hostel Killings - Moerane Hearings, KwaZulu Natal - Activist Vanessa Burger testifying at the Moerane Commission.

If you want to hire hitmen, go to Glebelands, hears Moerane Commission into political killings

The Moerane Commission of Inquiry into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal resumed after a month recess. On Monday, the commission, chaired by advocate Marumo Moerane, heard testimony on why at least 89 people have been murdered since March 2014 at the Glebelands hostel in Umlazi without a single arrest being made.

Giving testimony was a former Glebelands' resident and peace committee member (who cannot be named to protect his identity). He stayed at the hostel from 1986 to 2016. He said he left after he was tipped off about a plan to kill him.

He said that the peace committee had been working for peace to unite Block R and Block 52 which had been at war. "The feud started with the selling of beds, where some men would sell empty space in the hostel to people at R1,000. If you stayed in Block R, you could not visit your friend or relative staying in Block 52, known as Madala Stairs," he said.

"For a while, the peace committee worked to break the hostility and fights. Now it's members [the peace committee] are getting killed one by one and it is no longer a functioning body," he said.

Questioned by evidence leader Bheki Manyathi, the resident agreed that the killings in the province and Glebelands were a result of politics, power, financial enrichment, criminality, failures on the parts of the municipality, the SAPS and the Durban metro police. He also said that a policeman who stayed at the hostel was the mastermind behind some of the killings and brought ammunition to the hostel's hitmen and warlords.

Human rights activist Vanessa Burger also testified. She said, "If you want to hire hitmen, go to Glebelands." She said the police "had not only failed, they lied".

The commission runs until 21 July with some testimonies expected to take place in camera.

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