Police investigate a murder at Glebelands in Umlazi, Durban. Picture: SOWETAN
Police investigate a murder at Glebelands in Umlazi, Durban. Picture: SOWETAN

A fresh outbreak of political killings erupted at a notorious Durban hostel even as Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the appointment of a new task team to tackle the issue.

Since Thursday night six people were shot at Glebelands Hostel in what is considered to be intra-ANC factional wars at the hostel. A private security guard and a 70-year-old man lost their lives in the attacks.

This is after two security guards were shot at by unknown gunmen while on patrol at the hostel on Thursday night. One of them was fatally wounded and the other sustained serious injuries, according to police spokesman Lt Col Thulani Zwane.

He said the 70-year-old man was killed on Friday following a gun attack on three men who were seated at a local tavern.

There had been a lull in the killings at the hostel, especially after the appointment of the Moerane Commission into political killings in the province, which put a special focus on attacks at the hostel.

"No-one has been arrested so far but we are busy with our investigations," said Zwane.

"We appeal to hostel residents not to take the law into their own hands and instead approach the police with evidence so that the perpetrators can be arrested."

Last week Cele announced the appointment of a new task team to investigate political killings in the province. It will comprise 118 new members and eight from the previous one.

The police minister said the new task team would report directly to acting KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt Gen Nhlanhla Lucky Mkhwanazi, as well as to acting head of the Hawks in Mpumalanga, Brig Obed Ngwenya, and to Brig Dumisani Khumalo from the police head office’s operational response services.

On Monday the Glebelands Hostel was quiet but tense. There was a heightened police presence and vehicles coming in and out of the hostel were searched for weapons.

Many residents were fearful of talking to strangers, including journalists. The few who did speak insisted their names be withheld. One middle-aged man, who lives at the hostel and works at the nearby Isiphingo industrial area, said the latest problems started last weekend when they were informed that the collection of R100 each to buy weapons to defend blocks of flats would resume.