Premier calls for KZN violence to stop
Johannesburg - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize has called for calm between two rival groups in Umlazi, south of Durban, after outbreaks of public violence.
"We strongly deplore any acts of any kind of destruction of property, either by fire or otherwise, as well as the loss of life that is brought about by any wilful act," Mkhize said in a statement on Monday.
Provincial Safety and Security MEC Willies Mchunu was leading a team that was negotiating with both parties to find a solution.
"While negotiations take place to secure peace, safety and security, we reassure the public that our security machinery will take all necessary steps to ensure that peace prevails, and that any unruly elements found to be violating the rights of others will face the might of the law."
On Sunday, the Inkatha Freedom Party condemned the violence, saying its members were attacked by National Freedom Party members.
Two men were arrested on Monday and seven on Sunday following clashes at the weekend. One man was killed.
"The men were arrested in their homes and we expect to make more arrests," Colonel Jay Naicker said.
On Friday shops were looted and people injured as hundreds marched in Umlazi T-Section.
"Themba Ngcobo, 51, died and two people were wounded when shots were being fired by the unruly mob," Naicker said.
Police dispersed the gathering.
The protesters regrouped on Saturday. About 600 gathered at a hostel and looted houses, Naicker said at the time. Two tuck shops were set alight and residents were robbed of groceries and cash.
Ngcobo's body was found near the Kwa-Mnyandu Railway Station on Saturday night.
The men were expected to appear in the Umlazi Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
"We urge all parties to respect the rights to property, safety and life of everyone, especially their neighbours," Mkhize said.
"Our country has gone a long way down the path of safety and security, and we are determined to prevent any attempts to derail the strides taken thus far in pursuit of peace and security in our province."
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that the area is in crisis.
"The IFP rejects any form of violence. We abhor violence. We believe in engaging problems through negotiation, not through violence or the barrel of the gun," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at an Umlazi community meeting.
"My entire legacy stands as testimony to this truth. I have been vilified throughout the world for not embracing the armed struggle. We are a party of peace."
"As the leadership of this party, we will continue to engage the leadership of the NFP to talk seriously about this issue and ensure that the violence is resolved," Buthelezi said.
"I know that there is a great deal of energy and passion in this community. Your political allegiance runs deep.
"I would therefore like to plead with all of you today to channel this energy into finding a solution to end the senseless bloodshed."