“They said he betrayed them. They do not want peace, they want us all dead.”
– Glebelands informer
8 November 2016
YESTERDAY, just after 13h00, the Block 52 Peace Committee leader (name withheld) died in a hail of bullets shortly after leaving the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court. Witnesses reported the killers, armed with ‘rifles’ and handguns were driving a white doublecab. They were experts it seems, injuring no one with whom he had been walking at the time.
Yesterday was exactly a year to the day since Frank Khuzwayo was shot in the head at Block S. He died the next day at Prince Mshiyeni Hospital. The notorious Durban Central SAPS member and part-time Glebelands resident, said to have been behind most of the Glebelands violence, was suspected to have been behind Khuzwayo’s death. Since then, 14 more have died in the violence; 65 people are dead in total.
In the recently released report on the Glebelands violence, “Stop the Carnage,” the Public Protector found the police, the eThekwini Municipality and the Department of Social Development had overwhelming failed the community and were guilty of improper conduct and maladministration. The IPID was placed on notice.
On 19 July the following message was received from a police source:
“Good afternoon General. Threat to stability at Glebe Hostel. Secret indoor meeting held on 2016-07-18 at about 19:00 till 21:00 at Block 52 room 24. The special meeting was called by ______ who was released last week at Westville Prison. Source reported that [6 suspects – names withheld] and a new unknown person met there. They informed the Block 52 peace committee that they do not want to see any person from Block R moving along the road near Madala stairs (alphabetical blocks). ______ said since is out from jail he want to kill the ff people at Block R: [4 targets were named]. ______ also informed the committee that some their tools (firearms) are kept by…… He will able to get them it if needed. The peace committee will meet on Wednesday 20. The stability of the Hostel is under threat as _________ is said to be a ruthless killer. Further info is being gathered to try and address ________.”
The targets of the latest hit list were warned immediately. The Glebelands peace negotiations facilitator and other officials leading the peace process were notified. The police already knew. Concerns were raised for the safety of the Block 52 Peace Committee members, most of whom were risking their lives by engaging in the negotiations. A police raid followed a leisurely few days later. The suspects named in the plot did not appear to be home.
On 25 July the Glebelands Peace Accord was signed amid much fanfare and publicity.
On 30 July another message from a police source claimed: “________ and his group said they cannot turn back now because only about 4 or 5 people left to be killed as they were promised something.”
Of the band of killers, one, who was released from Westville prison in May, is also suspected of killing ANC candidate councilor from Harding, Bongani Sikhosana. Two others are wanted in connection with the murder of Glebelands resident, Cllr Zodwa Sibiya in April this year. Others are believed to have been involved in many of the murders of Block R residents. All are understood to be closely linked to the renegade Glebelands cop, who allegedly recruits and arms the hitmen and arranges their freedom through his crooked friends.
The police source alleged again: “________ told them [members of the Block 52 Peace Committee] straight that he will kill them.”
But the Block 52 Peace Committee members braved it out. They were truly committed to ending the hostel violence and risked their lives against odds they knew were heavily stacked against them. Whatever their former activities, they were absolved by their dedication to their community. For the first time since March 2014, leaders from Block R and Block 52 were working together. This was clearly not to be permitted by those with ‘clean’ hands but vested interests who have controlled the killing from the outset by remote control, seemingly with political protection.
The man killed yesterday was previously arrested on 27 August. He was allegedly charged with a double murder – the killing of the former Glebelands warlord in October last year and his friend. The charges did not ring true as he was said to have been working with the warlord at the time. The investigating officer – a member of the Provincial Task Team appointed to investigate Glebelands serious crimes – was himself deeply dodgy. He allegedly tortured another Glebelands leader a week earlier, and more and more residents were making claims that he demanded regular bribes to make dockets ‘disappear.’ Long after the Block 52 leader was released from custody, the IO refused to return his ID book. In court the same officer was witnessed fraternising openly with other Umlazi SAPS members who have been connected in one way or another to the violence – and the renegade cop.
On 30 September a Block 52 Peace Committee member was shot several times in the face, allegedly by the ringleader of the 19 July plot. He survived but will need major reconstructive surgery. The police held another failed operation and 2 of the alleged killers, who had been monitored all day and identified to police by residents who demanded proper action for once; somehow managed to evade arrest, or were arrested then released later by members of the Umlazi SAPS.
Provincial ANC leaders visited the injured Peace Committee member in hospital. The peace process facilitator was implored to take action against the killers – especially the renegade cop – who were now clearly targeting the Block 52 committee members whom they called ‘traitors’.
A few days later the killers axed down the door of another Block 52 Peace Committee member. Luckily, he managed to escape through the window of his room, but cannot return to Glebelands.
In her report the Public Protector commended the actions taken by the Department of Community Safety and Liaison and “expert facilitator”, Sbusiso Xulu in bringing peace to the “warring factions.” While dialogue, tolerance and understanding, is vital, and has recently, to a large degree at Glebelands, been achieved between former enemies; those who have a vested financial interest in prolonging the violence for their political masters MUST be arrested AND SENTENCED. While negotiation plays a vital role in any conflict resolution; so too does the rule of law; an independent, law-abiding police service; credible oversight bodies and an unprejudiced judiciary.
The life of a very brave man has been lost because he chose peace over war. He did the right thing; he cooperated with the police; he made enormous personal sacrifices for the good of the many, over the interests of the self – the sign of a true leader; for that he paid the ultimate price, killed, seemingly either directly, or indirectly by those behind Frank Khuzwayo’s death a year ago.
Peace Committee members from both so-called factions remain under fire, and hitmen continue to kill at the will of corrupt police and their political masters. Yet community leaders have shown their utter commitment and respect for the peace process. It is long overdue that political leaders and their police puppets showed the same – that is, if any still harbor some small remnant of respect for human life beyond their utter dedication to wealth and power.
(Independent Community Activist for Human Rights & Social Justice)
Cell: 082 847 7766 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com