The Glebelands terror campaign continues…
25 November 2015
By: Vanessa Burger
Glebelands thugs, now apparently headed by a Block 52 resident who has risen to prominence after the death of the former warlord, have been busy this week. Meetings were reportedly held at Blocks 40, 41, 42, 45, and, last night, in Block 48. Residents at all old blocks were warned at these meetings; cough up or face eviction or death. The going rate remains R50 for women and R100 for men. Next of kin sharing rooms with residents get a discount – they are only charged R50. This is the biggest collection to date and nine blocks have reportedly already paid. As the old blocks are double the size of the newer constructions and vastly overcrowded, it is estimated that over R350 000 has already been squeezed from this poor community. This latest collection, when completed at all 29 old blocks, is likely to amount to almost four times the cash found in the room of the warlord (R300 000) at the time of his death. R1.5 million is – according to police sources – sufficient to buy the guns, hitmen, investigating officers, prosecutors, defence lawyers and even magistrates, essential to maintain the Glebelands extermination campaign. The police have been begged to stop these collections, but to date, have failed miserably.
Shortly before the thugs convened the Block 48 meeting last night, the renegade cop – the late warlord’s best friend – was witnessed, together with the Block 52 collection coordinator, delivering rifles and handguns to the top floor of a room in Block 42, allegedly occupied by the renegade cop’s bodyguard. The former resident, a traditional healer, was evicted and petrol bombed in April this year. He now reportedly has a R200 000 price on his head. The bodyguard is allegedly an accomplice to the late warlord’s younger brother who was arrested in October on five charges of murder and numerous counts of hijacking. The police were notified immediately, also about the Block 48 extortion meeting. It remains to be seen whether they will arrest one of their own – one who seems to be arming most of Glebe with illegal or state issue firearms – the cop who, residents claim, together with two other well known hostel killers, allegedly murdered Frank Khuzwayo on 7 November.
On Monday, a red Golf crammed with thugs and driven by an elder brother of the late warlord, was spotted near Block M. The driver reportedly pointed out a Block R resident as he drove past, identifying him to the thugs in the vehicle. When the resident stopped to enquire why they were pointing at him, the thugs reportedly leered, and asked if he was “still ok.” The threat was clear.
Coincidentally, the same Block R resident has been subjected to repeated police harassment. Since the murder of Glebelands Ubunye bama Hostela (UbH) leader, Bongani Mthembu on 12 November, this individual appears to have been arbitrarily selected as a prime suspect. Umlazi SAPS officers have contacted the man on numerous occasions, initially to meet him at Glebelands, subsequently at Umlazi SAPS. The police however failed to keep their appointments. The man then offered to go to the Umlazi Station so that he could answer whatever questions they wished to put to him. The officers declined. Interestingly, the Umlazi SAPS members responsible for this unprocedural action, are not handling the docket and have no jurisdiction to interfere with an investigation already assigned to a detective from the Provincial Task Team. This was confirmed at a meeting on 19 November with the Umlazi SAPS Cluster Commander and Task Team members, who also confirmed, as yet, there are no suspects for Mthembu’s murder. They stated they have no interest in any specific individual unless he has information that could be relevant to their investigation. The man maintains his innocence.
Even more interesting, is the allegation that the Umlazi SAPS member heading the harassment was close to the late warlord. Residents claim the officer in question was witnessed dancing with thugs at a Block 52 party held to celebrate the assassination of Sipho Ndovela at the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court on 18 May. This same officer was believed to be responsible for torturing a female resident in October last year. He has a long history of questionable conduct and failed investigations into cases against the thugs. The resident targeted has offered to cooperate fully with police investigations, but, when the thug-police finally caught up with him on Monday, they appeared more interested in who would take over the position of Glebelands UbH representative – not who killed Mthembu.
The resident has been warned his name is near the top of the notorious hit list. He also lives in fear of being tortured or even killed by SAPS members who appear to be working closely with the thugs. After so many cases of what appear to be the malicious arrest of innocent parties, of numerous reports of police brutality and torture at Glebelands, and so many of the same victims killed in professional hits, the resident uneasily awaits his fate. More complaints will be lodged with the SAPS Provincial Commissioner, more pleas made to safeguard the survivors, more silence will no doubt follow. The modus operandi follows a distressing routine as the lives of the ‘wanted’ slip away in the face of official disregard to become another statistic in newspaper columns.
Last Saturday, the community reported that a large number of unlicensed firearms were found by police in a vehicle inside Glebelands during a stop and search operation. Witnesses claim the guns were returned to the thugs. No one was arrested.
Top cops claim they can only act conclusively at Glebelands if witnesses are willing to provide statements. But in the nineteen months during which 53 people have been killed by hitmen apparently armed by a killer cop; ten residents have been tortured by police; officers have danced – literally – to the warlord’s tunes, and reports of bribery and corruption have been rife, not one thug has received a strong sentence. The witness protection programme, which should safeguard those brave enough to testify, appears hamstrung by erratic management, inexperience and bureaucratic dysfunction. Understandably, under these circumstances, not many within the community are willing to put their lives on the line, for, at best, a highly uncertain outcome to what is clearly a state run extermination campaign.
Similarly, calls by politicians, religious leaders and NGOs for those under fire and their families to ignore the 53 assassinations, the violence and trauma of hundreds of evictions, the ethnic slurs – the slow genocide of a community within a community – and embrace peace negotiations are disingenuous and deeply painful for those concerned. Reconciliation without justice or compensation is an empty gesture, as meaningless as the Glebelands security ‘successes’ – the fiction regularly served up by eThekwini Municipality officials and their ANC handlers at EXCO meetings to impress the press and unwitting public.
As the father of dub protest poetry, voice of the oppressed and champion of the working class, Linton Kwesi Johnson demanded: “How can there be silence when our eyes shed solid tears of iron blood that falls on concrete ground, inside our ears are the many wailing cries of misery; inside our bodies, the internal bleeding of volcanos,…How can there by calm when the storm is yet to come.”