Glebelands hostel is dirty, overcrowded, dangerous

2017-07-21 20:23
Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

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Durban – Dangerous, overcrowded, and dirty - these are the conditions the Moerane Commission of Inquiry saw during a visit to the Glebelands Hostel, in Umlazi, on Friday.

One resident, Sifiso Cele, 24, said he had been sharing a room with two other people for two years.

"I am not working. I came here so that I can try to get work. It has not been easy. This is not a safe place to live in," he said from his tiny room in Block 52. The commission, led by advocate Marumo Moerane, conducted an in-loco inspection of the hostel’s Block R, Block 52, and the new family block.

Police, journalists, and public officials accompanied them. During its public hearings, the commission had heard that acts of extreme violence were committed in those three blocks.

Also read: Commission hears of R50 collections to fund 'hitmen' at Glebelands hostel

In Block R, residents showed commissioners a bullet-riddled corrugated iron garage.

A group of men said they had been attacked there one evening. They did not say what the motive could have been.

The commission hoped to get a clearer picture of the state of Glebelands, Moerane told reporters.

"People have been killed, so we thought we might get a better idea to contextualise ourselves. We visited the three blocks that featured during previous commission submissions."

Corruption, violence On Monday, the commission heard how the hostel was a breeding ground for hitmen, and how police were involved in the violence at the hostel.

Police-issued R1 assault rifles were often used in politically-motivated murders and in hits on taxi industry operators.

Independent researcher and human rights activist Vanessa Burger described the hostel as a "reservoir of hitmen".

"Anyone who wants someone taken out goes there."

The number of killers for hire began to increase after a ward councillor allegedly orchestrated the killing of hostel block committee leaders.

These leaders represent residents. Afterwards, the hitmen "diversified from there".

She claimed that political heads in the province were commissioning hitmen for political killings. KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu established the commission in October 2016 to investigate the high number of political killings in the province since 2011.

The commission would reconvene on August 16.

Read more on:    marumo moerane  |  durban

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