Chiefs roped in to end hostel killings

By Celani Sikhakhane

Police have called on traditional leaders to help end the killings that have plagued KwaMashu Men’s Hostel in Durban for years. 

A meeting was held last week between KwaMashu station commander Brigadier Zakhele Nzama and the chiefs to discuss the ongoing violence. 

“Brigadier Nzama called the meeting with amakhosi/chiefs to discuss killings that are taking place in that hostel,” said KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda.

The call for intervention comes after nine people were killed over one weekend in February while they were drinking. To date, 20 suspects are believed to be involved, but no arrests have been made.

According to Netshiunda, the police have struggled for years to get into the hostel due to the congestion and the high number of shacks built there.

The hostel has been linked to hitmen who are hired to kill taxi bosses and politicians, and it is known to be a hiding place for killers.

Many of the disputes that lead to killings reportedly originate in rural areas and then spill over into the hostel.

Some people also come to the hostel seeking muthi from traditional healers that they believe will protect them from the police or make their cases disappear.

The police have expressed frustration at their inability to make arrests due to the lack of trust between themselves and the residents.

Councillor Muzi Gwala said people do not want to reveal information to the police because they are worried about their safety.

To address the issue, a peace committee is being established that will involve traditional leaders, since many residents come from rural areas that are governed by such leaders.

Pictured above: Police inspecting a crime scene at KwaMashu Men’s hostel, north of Durban

Image source: Twitter


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