Communities to meet after attack on vagrants

2014-06-11 00:00

THE increase in crimes in Umbilo, Glenwood and the market areas could have sparked the attacks on vagrants and whoonga addicts on Monday night.

This is the view shared by local leaders as the leadership in the nearby Dalton hostel distanced themselves from the attacks.

It was reported yesterday that scores of vagrants occupying city parks in Glenwood were seriously injured when gangs of armed men, believed to be from Dalton hostel, targeted the homeless, suspecting them as being the root cause of crime in the area.

The men reportedly moved from the Dalton hostel to the Albert Park, upwards to Botha Park and into Glenwood as the homeless fled. The police would only confirm five incidents of people treated by parademics while unconfirmed reports indicated those injured could number about 15.

Yesterday, police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the police attended to the aftermath of a clash between two groups in the area after 8 pm.

Naicker said a “skeleton” assault docket would be opened by Umbilo police for further investigation.

“As no formal complaint has been laid with police or witnesses come forward to identify the perpetrators, we are hoping that our investigation will uncover who these two groupings were and the motive for the clash so that the perpetrators can be brought to book,” Naicker said.

Ben Madokwe, chairperson of Umbilo Community Policing Forum (CPF), said allegations were that the vagrants had been assaulted by men from Dalton hostel, but nobody could confirm that.

“We are to have a meeting of stakeholders to establish what transpired, but it is alleged that they were beaten up by a mob,” he said. He added the leaders from the Dalton, Umbilo and Glenwood community, as well as the CPF were to meet on the issue.

Madokwe also said the whoonga addicts and vagrants in the area were a cause for concern since they moved from Albert Park and that had led to them being accused of crimes in the area.

“If there is a break-in at a house, they are blamed for that. There are incidents that could be caused by them — or not.”

He said the area has witnessed an increase in crimes like theft out of vehicles, housebreakings and muggings on the streets.

Mthembiseni Thusi, deputy chairperson of uBunye Bama hostel — which incorporates the Dalton hostel — said the committee had not sanctioned the attacks and that they were not involved.

However, he said the presence of vagrants and whoonga addicts has caused unhappiness among the residents.

He said people no longer felt safe and reports of muggings near the parks were made and blamed on the vagrants and whoonga addicts.

— Witness Reporter.

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