Glebelands to get security upgrade

MEC's to lead a mop up operation.Picture: Supplied

As part of efforts to bring peace at the notorious Glebelands Hostel where 60 people had been killed in the past two years, the Ethekwini municipality will install cameras at the residence to monitor illegal activities.

The CCTV cameras, worth R3m, form part of the second phase of the surveillance rollout at the residence after the first batch of cameras were installed at the hostel’s entrances.

Ethekwini municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said the new cameras would have additional security features such as an alarm and emergency sound system.

“This will assist operators in making live announcements when criminal activity is spotted in buildings,” she said.

“It will also give authorities adequate knowledge and evidence to deal with live incidents and the prosecution thereafter.”

Following a brief lull as a result of a ceasefire agreement signed between the various warring factions at the hostel, tensions at the residence have been building in recent weeks.

Several residents serving on the committee that monitors the peace process in the area were last month forced to flee the residence after receiving death threats.

A group is reportedly extorting rent money from resident in the hostel’s Block R and some are living in fear after their names allegedly featured on a hit list. KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said authorities were following up on the residents’ claims that their names had featured on a hit list.

The KZN premier’s office, the provincial department of community safety and liaison and the Ethekwini municipality have instated programmes aimed at bringing lasting peace at the hostel.

“As a department we are still committed to all the initiatives meant to end violence and bring about peace at the Glebelands Hostel,” community safety and liaison spokesperson Sipho Khumalo said.

“Obviously, there are certain elements at the hostel benefiting from the hostel and would therefore do anything to derail the peace process.”

However, in a report penned on the eve of her departure in October, former public protector Thuli Madonsela accused the Ethekwini municipality and the community safety and social development departments of doing very little to secure the lives of the hostel’s residents.

Of particular concern was that not a single suspect had been convicted for the two-year bloodshed that left 60 people dead.

“It is also concerning that none of the murder suspects have, thus far, been successfully prosecuted,” Madonsela said.

Home to 20 000 people, mainly from the KZN’s rural areas, Glebelands Hostel is regarded as one of the province’s most rampant crime hot spots.

Overcrowding has seen the hostel turn into a hideout for wanted criminals who blend in with the residents.