The people of Glebelands Hostel have turned to the United Nations Human Rights Council in a plea for protection from hitmen’s bullets and violations of their basic human rights.
In the last two years, 62 people have died, most of them gunned down by assassins’ bullets. Two years later, not a single person has been convicted. Some residents believe these hits are carried out as part of a campaign of terror to keep the local ward councillor in power and silence questions about service delivery, tender allocation, procurement and suspected nepotism and maladministration.
After two years of inaction from the police, although an investigation by the Public Protector is in progress, in April 2016 Glebelands residents wrote to the UN Human Rights Committee to call international attention to this mass violation of people’s rights.
“Our rainbow has become bitter ash in our mouths,” the Glebelands appeal states. “Our constitution, the best in the world we are told, we can only admire from a distance but not access our rights enshrined within it.”
Behind the hitlist, there are many more daily violations of human rights of the affected Glebelands Hostel community. Over two years more than 1000 people have been illegally evicted from the hostel, and 14 blocks taken over by politically connected thugs who claim to be acting on the orders of the ward councillor, former Police Minister, and senior ANC and eThekwini Municipality officials.Many of the residents are forced to make ‘donations’ to the thugs who use the money to pay bribes and hitmen and buy guns.Residents live in constant fear, and many have left their jobs because it is too dangerous to move from their home.
The police are part of the problem, say residents. Some believe police are working with the thugs, helping them extort ‘donations’ from the community and protecting the killers behind the 62 deaths. At least 12 residents are reported to have been brutally tortured while many others have been arrested on what seem to be trumped up charges. In March 2014, one person died during such an interrogation.
There is a fear that in the lead-up to local elections, the violence will only get worse. In desperation, residents of Glebelands have appealed to the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and send independent observers to the hostel and pressure government to take all necessary steps to end the cycle of violence. “We cannot turn another blind eye to the crisis in Glebelands,” said R2K KZN activist Philisiwe Mazibuko. “We call on all people of South Africa to stand with Glebelands.”
Donate to Glebelands:
Account holder: The Right 2 Know
Bank: Standard Bank
Account Number: 07 022 865 5
Branch Code: 020909
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