eThekwini criticised over Glebelands hostel

2018-09-21 15:45
The notorious Glebelands Hostel in Durban known for being a hit-men's hideout.

The notorious Glebelands Hostel in Durban known for being a hit-men's hideout. (Phumlani Thabethe)

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The Moerane Commission that investigated political killings in KZN has lambasted the eThekwini Municipality for allowing the notorious Glebelands hostel, where violence has claimed more than 120 lives, to be turned into a hit men’s hideout.

In its report, tabled by Premier Willies Mchunu in the KZN legislature on Thursday, the commission, which last year conducted a site visit at the hostel, said claims of neglect levelled at the eThekwini Municipality by residents were true.

“The abdication of this responsibility was both in terms of the lack of maintenance of the physical property, as well as in the administration of the property, including the allocation of beds, which was left to criminal elements,” the commission said.

Witnesses had testified that the majority of hit men hired by politicians to assassinate rivals resided at the hostel.

Mchunu established the commission following a spate of political killings in the province.

The commission, which agreed that political killings in the province were a direct result of the fight between politicians over municipal resources, made a number of findings and recommendations.

In its 424-page report, the commission cites overwhelming evidence by a number of witnesses who testified at its hearings as basis for its findings and recommendations that include the banning of councillors from taking part in the appointment of municipal employees and service providers.

Mchunu, who said the provincial government was committed to implementing the committee’s recommendations, blamed weak political party systems for the killings.

He said all political parties in the province have accepted the findings and recommendations of the report.

The commission’s findings and recommendations include the following:-

Findings

The murder of politicians was predominantly committed at a local level, involving mainly councillors and branch leaders of all political organisations and was not just prevalent within a single political party.

There is clear evidence that being elected as a councillor, regardless of political affiliation, is perceived to create opportunity for access to resources through tenders and other financial avenues, leading to corruption, crass materialism and conspicuous consumption. It is for this reason that contestation for entry into politics, in particular at a local level, is fierce and could easily become violent and result in the killing of whoever is seen as an obstruction to this entry.

Furthermore, election as a councillor allows for upward mobility in financial and social status and lends itself to the creation of a patronage network. Losing status as a councillor therefore does not only result in the individual losing income and social status, but so does the entire patronage network.

There is strong evidence suggesting that manipulation of nominations at branch, regional and provincial meetings of political parties seeks to marginalise some in the battle between different factions, resulting in violent attacks and retaliatory attacks, which is at the core of political murders. This is again a phenomenon which was found be prevalent across the political spectrum and not confined to a single political party.

This commission also found that there are serious weaknesses in the entire criminal justice system, especially the security apparatus, national intelligence and crime intelligence, in terms of the effectiveness of personnel and co-ordination and coherence among security entities. This obviously hampers the prevention and resolving of cases related to political murders.

The recruitment of criminal elements by politicians to achieve political ends, resulting in a complex matrix of criminal and political associations, inevitably contributes to political murders.

In respect of the situation at the Glebelends Hostel, the commission found it to be neglected and that a lack of maintenance, poor administration, allocation of beds being left to criminal elements has resulted in violent competition for control of the lucrative business of controlling the renting of beds.

A matter which we have all suspected to be the case is that language used by politicians across the board was found to be provocative and incites violence and contributes to the murder of politicians.

Recommendations

Political parties should immediately settle differences between themselves through peaceful means using negotiations, mediation another consensus building techniques to avoid the continuing murder of politicians and public officials.

Political deployment of persons as government functionaries into positions without the appropriate qualifications must be discouraged and eliminated as a practice.

Allegations of corrupt activities by politicians and other criminal elements must be investigated.

The recruitment, training and deployment of police must be improved through ensuring that properly qualified people are recruited.

Political parties should build a strong membership base that is rooted in democratic values, political competition, tolerance, sound moral values and service to the public.

Political parties and state institutions should provide effective and appropriate training to ensure that elected public officials are well prepared for the tasks that they are expected to carry out The report must be referred to the national cabinet so that the findings can be studied and the recommendation implemented.

Some of the high profile political figures who were killed in recent months

Former ANC Youth League secretary-general and uMzimkhulu councillor Sindiso Magaqa,

ANC Nquthu councillor Vusumuzi Ntombela,

Kwandengezi activist Thokozile Alice Phakathi,

ANC uMzimkhulu Municipality speaker Khaya Thobela,

ANC member Thembi Mbongo,

NFP councillor Beauty Nompumelelo Zondi, and

ANC Pongola Municipality councillor Bhekiseni Patrick Khumalo.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  moerane report

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