Govt's silence on Glebelands Hostel killings deafening - clergy

2015-12-07 18:20


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban – KwaZulu-Natal church leaders voiced their concern on Monday about the spiralling number of deaths at Umlazi’s Glebelands Hostel, and slammed the government for its deafening silence on the matter and for not accepting their offer of help.

The group penned a letter to eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Senzo Mchunu on November 17, but their concerns, they said, fell on deaf ears.

News24 has reported that 11 people have been killed in hostel violence since the beginning of September, the latest victim being community leader Bongani Mthembu, who was reportedly gunned down in a hit-style killing last month.

The letter, written by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, Bishop Rubin Phillip and Bishop Mike Vorster on behalf of the KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders’ Group, said they were concerned about the high levels of violence at the hostel since 2014.

The group works closely with the Ecumenical Council of Umlazi, a forum of clergy who conducted a fact-finding mission at the hostel and worked closely with the community. 

Neither the eThekwini municipality nor the office of the premier were available for comment. 

"The violence has continued virtually unabated and, if anything, has escalated in recent months. Our own investigations indicate that more than 50 people have been assassinated, leaving hundreds traumatised and without breadwinners."

The church leaders said the violence seemed well organised, with killings that appeared to be the work of well-trained hitmen.

"An example is Sipho Ndovela's assassination on the doorstep of the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court on May 18 2015," they said.

"Eyewitness accounts allege attempted hits, police torture, including 'tubing', death threats, intimidation and petrol bombings.

"Countless men, women and children have been forcibly evicted from their rooms."

They noted that most of those killed had received death threats which were reported to the police, but no action seemed to have been taken.

Government 'ignored out letter'

The group said residents in Glebelands were living in fear.

"Others have given up their jobs because they fear [leaving] the hostel... Perhaps what is most frightening is the alleged existence of a 'hit list' of those who question the relationships between local politicians, the police and known criminals."

The leaders called on government to provide adequate housing for the families living in the hostel and to investigate the violence.

"While the hostels are a legacy of colonialism and apartheid, it is an absolute disgrace that, 21 years into democracy, they have not been converted into decent family accommodation.

"We call on you to launch a comprehensive investigation into the violence, using an independent task team, comprising respected members of civil society, as well as religious and community leaders."

Nomabelu Mvambo-Dandala, director of the Diakonia Council of Churches, said government’s lack of response to their concerns was deafening.

"We have not received acknowledgement of the letter, not even a phone call."

Mvambo-Dandala said the church was disappointed at government’s silence.

"The government is always calling for churches to get involved, but when you extend your hand, they don’t respond.

"The fact that they have chosen to ignore the letter does not bode well, because the killings are continuing and the families continue to suffer," she said.

Read more on:    durban  |  religion  |  crime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.