Many believe the Glebelands violence is driven by corruption, particularly involving construction tenders and unit allocation. The vast majority of residents killed were targeted because they opposed the ward councilor’s alleged corruption and nepotism.
Late last year, seven of Glebelands most notorious ‘hitmen’ – including the hostel’s rogue cop – were arrested and charged with 19 counts of murder, attempted murder, racketeering, extortion and possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition. Elitsha has been tracking the ‘Glebelands 7’ progress through the criminal justice system. This is Part 2.
Tshepo Hlambelo, a former Glebelands resident who claimed he was tortured by POP Unit members of the SAPS in 2014 after he was violently evicted from his hostel room by thugs and hitmen, eventually fled to his home in the rural areas near Bizana after he continued receiving death threats. He went missing on 14 Dec 2017.
The conflict between the Siqalo and Mitchell’s Plain communities flared up late on Thursday, despite the suspension by Siqalo of their protest action. Police fired on a gathering of Mitchell’s Plain residents, killing one and wounding two.
The Moerane Commission concluded its work on 18 March and has until the end of April to submit its report and recommendations to the Premier, Willies Mchunu. After that it will be tabled for discussion at provincial level, go back to the Commission for final amendments, and only after that, it might be made public. The Premier’s office initially stated that it would not release the report, then it stated that “no decision not to release the report has been made” following a public outcry.
Ben Cousins argues that the land redistribution should benefit small-scale farmers.
Two Glebelands residents and employees of the politically connected private security company, Secureco METSU, contracted by the eThekwini Municipality to provide security at the hostel, have been implicated in at least 7 Glebelands murders and a further 3 attempted murders – Sivuyile Luna, whose trial for the murder of a Glebelands woman in Jan 2017, was remanded to February this year and Bongani Mbhele, for whom police recently issued a ‘wanted’ statement. Luna was a Block 52 resident while employed to undertake armed patrols at the hostel. Mbhele has been employed by Fidelity (Secureco’s holding company) since at least 2011, and although he did not perform guarding duties at the hostel, he is believed to have murdered at least 5 people by the time he was first arrested (and later released) in September 2015.
The criminal justice system is quick to blame its abysmal conviction rate of Glebelands suspects on reluctant witnesses. While this is indeed a contributing factor – and for good reason – the whole story is not being told.
It’s over 3 months since the storm that left a trail of destruction in KZN, but there has been no help from government for residents of Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi.
A recent SALGA report and the Moerane Commission have both shone a light on the pervasiveness of violent contestation over leadership positions in municipal and party-political forums. They also revealed how the inter and intra-party contestation for political office has had lethal consequences.