Killings in the notorious Glebelands hostel in Durban – which have claimed at least 92 lives in the last two years – is linked to pure criminality.
That’s according to Advocate Cyril Selepe‚ a deputy director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal. He was giving evidence before the Moerane Commission of Inquiry investigating political killings in KZN.
It was the turn of the National Prosecuting Authority to give evidence on Thursday amid concerns by the families of the people killed in Glebelands that many cases were not brought to court by the NPA.
When asked by evidence leader Advocate Bheki Manyathi for his perspective on Glebelands violence‚ Selepe said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Glebelands has been troubling all of us in KZN. It has been a problem for years. It keeps one awake at night thinking about what type of an area is that where people are killed like that. It’s disturbing.”
He said he was tasked by the by Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to look into all dockets relating to Glebelands matters and that the simple fact is that witnesses were not willing to come forward with evidence.
He said some witnesses had even declined being placed into the witness protection programme‚ even though they had expressed fear for their lives if they testified against the suspects.
“We try our best with the witnesses. When there are threats against them we refer them to the witness protection programme but some refuse that‚” he told the commission.
“In an environment like Glebelands only the brave ones will come to court and testify. People do not want to talk at all in Glebelands. And I cannot blame them. They are justified. In Glebelands you get killed like nothing has happened. You lose your life. What type of an area where people are killed like that? And you expect people to run forward and say I want to talk. No they won’t.”
But despite that they had managed to make some arrests for murders in the notorious hostel.
However‚ Selepe was resolute that violence in Glebelands was not political‚ but criminal.
“It’s purely criminal activity it’s not political. Glebelands has been reported in the media as political killings. It’s not. It’s purely criminal activity. It does not go near where pointing towards political killings. I am on record here that there is no indication that there are political killings there‚” he said.
The DPP submitted a statement saying that it has received a total number of 49 cases believed to be related to political parties in the province by August last year. Of those‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]10 cases have been prosecuted. Four resulted in convictions‚ while six were unsuccessfully prosecuted for various reasons such as witnesses contradicting each other.
A total of eight cases were withdrawn for various reasons‚ such as when a key state witness was killed resulting in no prospect for a successful prosecution. In 13 cases‚ prosecution was declined due to the fact that perpetrators were unknown while in two cases the perpetrators are know but are still at large. Fifteen cases are currently pending in court.
The commission continues on Friday with testimony from the Economic Freedom Fighters.
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