Durbanites to march against ‘lobola snatchers’

2013-05-15 11:19

Residents of the Dalton Hostel in Durban will march to city hall on Saturday because they claim metro police officers had helped themselves to their valuables – including R15 000 lobola money – during a raid.

The alleged theft happened during a raid by Durban metro police on May 3 at the hostel near the city centre.

Police were searching for drugs and illegal weapons. Mthembiseni Thusi, the chairperson of the Dalton Hostel development committee, said they had nothing against attempts by police to combat crime. However, they were against “criminal tendencies” in the metro police.

“How can officers forcefully enter people’s homes when they are not there? In another instance male officers barged into an apartment with a female sleeping. They threw blankets off them when they were naked and left with her clothes. Is that not abuse of power?” asked Thusi.

The officers allegedly had no search warrants and they wore no name tags.

Residents claim the metro police broke doors, tore into lockers where residents kept their valuables and stole from them.

This included food such as big packets of rice and sugar as well as cases of beer that people saved up to take to their rural homesteads at the end of the month.

Residents claim that they were asked to produce till slips for these items.

Sibusiso Meyiwa, who claims R15 000 was stolen from his apartment, is one of the worst affected. Meyiwa agreed to keep the money for his uncle, who planned to use it this past weekend to pay towards his unemployed son’s lobola, he said.

“My uncle retired last year and he had been saving up the money to pay for the lobola,” said Meyiwa.

While he claims the incident has not affected their relationship, it has affected his uncle’s health. “He does not blame me because he knows the calibre of the person I am but calling him with the news was one of the most difficult things I have had to do,” he said.

“This whole situation literally made me sick. My uncle is on medication for (high blood pressure) and he has not been doing well since this happened,” added Meyiwa.

He claims their door was kicked off its hinges. His brother, who is among the eight men who share the room, had been in the shower.

He returned to a room full of officers who had turned the place upside down. However, he claims the theft did not stop at the R15 000, the officers also helped themselves to R800 made up of R5 coins which he kept in a tin under his bed.

“I don’t work. I save up whatever little money I get so that I can support my children. That money was meant to buy their school uniforms at the beginning of the year,” said Meyiwa.

He has been unemployed since 2009 when he was retrenched from a furniture factory.

The Dalton Hostel development committee’s secretary-general, Diza Ntanzi, said the march had been approved.

They plan to hand a letter over to Durban Mayor James Nxumalo or a representative.

Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Eugene Msomi confirmed that Meyiwa’s case had been registered with Umbilo police and was being investigated.

However, according to the residents, no one has come to visit the area to take statement from them.

Meyiwa has also not been contacted since he opened the case two weeks ago.

- City Press

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