18 May 2015
By Vanessa Burger
ALL it took were two bullets to end the life of a key witness in three important Glebelands cases – one in the chest and one in the forehead. Well-placed shots, indicative of an experienced assassin. In all cases the same killer is implicated – the infamous Block 52 thug cum alleged hijacker cum alleged police impersonator cum reported friend of dubious Block T Berea SAPS member – who has been linked to almost all the violence at the beleaguered hostel since April 2014…yet remains untouchable.
Sipho Ndovela was the accused in today’s case, strangely, as he was one of those under attack when the same thug pulled into his block with his henchmen during April last year and convened a meeting with residents to oust the existing block committee and chairman – a modus operandi now well known to the Glebelands community as a pretext to oust block chairmen and committee members and demand protection fees, ostensibly to ‘safeguard’ residents. Yet the killing continues. In this case Ndovela was accused of attempted murder – one of the many block committee members similarly charged whose cases appear based on faceless witness statements and flimsy evidence.
As early as 20 April 2015 information was received that a hit was planned for Ndovela’s court appearance today or on 21 May when he was to appear as witness in another case against the renowned Block 52 thug. A month ago his wife had been warned, “He will not see court.” On 11 April unknown gunmen, believed to be linked to the Block T Berea SAPS officer so frequently witnessed with the Block 52 thug, reportedly visited Ndovela’s home in the Eastern Cape. One was witnessed carrying a cocked gun behind his back as they called through the windows of the family home for Ndovela. They fled when Ndovela’s brother confronted them.
On 21 April 2015 the KZN Violence Monitor wrote to the SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Umlazi Cluster Commander, MEC for Community Safety and Liaison and numerous other police officials to alert them to the numerous threats already made on Ndovela’s life. Serious questions were also raised regarding the integrity of certain police members and the alleged use of official issue firearms and ammunition in much of the Glebelands violence. Further complaints were sent to the police on 23 April and again on 25 April and 9 May 2015 during the violent eviction and threat to the life of traditional healer, Thembelani Shozi, whom the police also failed to safeguard. The police were well aware of the danger to Ndovela yet they abandoned him at court and handed him over to court orderlies. Umlazi court has no CCTV cameras, and predictably, no witnesses have come forward.
Ndovela, it seems, received a call while in court. Phone records will reveal if he called the police thereafter, as has been alleged, before he left the court and met his death. One thing is certain, however, the police failed in their duty to ‘serve and protect’ the people of Glebelands – particularly Ndovela. So too have the political leaders failed, having prematurely declared a superficial ‘peace’ at Glebelands on 28 September last year, apparently to score political brownie points, then recalling police specially deployed to keep the calm. Even though these same police tortured residents, the community claimed, “at least they stopped the killing.” How sad a community must chose between murder or torture.
On 8 April a complaint was lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Office of the Public Protector (OPP) regarding the Glebelands killings, human rights abuses, alleged corruption and police irregularities. Since then two more people have been assassinated, many shot, illegally evicted and others are under direct threat of imminent death. Both the SAHRC and OPP have failed to take their mandate seriously – perhaps hostel dwellers are simply less ‘human’ than other citizens and less deserving of their human and constitutional rights or right to life?
Ndovela was also the key witness in another case – that of a man shot in the ankle and axed in the head on 26 April 2014 at Block 56 after being attacked by the same thug and his henchmen. Coincidence? The National Prosecuting Authority and SAPS claim the motive for Ndovela’s murder is unknown. Really?
Or could it be perhaps because Ndovela was witness to the murder of Fikile Siyephu on 15 February this year? He positively identified four of the shooters during a recent police line-up. Interestingly, in this incident, the known Block 52 thug was witnessed by Ndovela and others as having collected the shooters in a white truck immediately prior to the hit on Siyephu – the same individuals implicated in Siyephu’s murder a few moments later. Ndovela stated at the time, the investigating officer in the Siyephu case had instructed him to omit this information from his statement – a clear case of interfering with a witnesses’ evidence. Ndovela was to have provided a supplementary statement to the Umlazi SAPS today regarding this omission. Is this perhaps why he was killed? Only a few of his close friends and the police knew of Ndovela’s imminent testimony – information which may have led to the arrest of the thug who is currently on bail for attempted murder.
And misinformation now appears to be circulating regarding the Ndovela killing – he was accused of murder, he was shot in the car park, the motive is unknown… What is clear is that it seems the Block 52 thug rules the police, allegedly ordering the killing of dozens with impunity, even at court, implicated in numerous cases, yet without sufficient evidence to secure an arrest. What power does this young man hold over the police and why is he seemingly above the law regardless of units such as crime intelligence, whose duty it is to sniff out obscure evidence?
Now another witness’ life is in immediate danger. On Thursday 21 May, the Block 52 thug is due to appear in Umlazi Court on charges of attempted murder. His henchmen have allegedly been ‘hunting’ this witness for some time – just as they were Ndovela. Will the police allow another witness to die? Or will they seemingly continue to cover for the thug? Time will tell. We’ll see in court on Thursday….be there.
JUSTICE MUST BE DONE AND BE SEEN TO BE DONE – WE MUST SEE TO IT…For Sipho’s family and all who have died at Glebelands.
For now, SAPS units from other areas must be deployed immediately to Glebelands Hostel to patrol and safeguard the blocks under direct threat – not maintain a static deployment at the sports grounds or stand idly by while a crime is in progress as was witnessed recently. The rule of terror at Glebelands must end and the arrest of the Block 52 thug and his accomplices prioritized. If this does not happen – the SAPS and their political masters must answer to the families of the dead.
We appeal for donations to cover Sipho’s funeral costs. Donations can be made here.