KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza has urged the community of Imbali Township in Pietermartziburg to end the culture of silence as killings of people continue in the area.
Khoza made this call following the brutal murder of Reverend Bheki Hlela (53), his wife Ntombifuthi Hlela (42) and their children Siphokazi Hlela (15) and Siwinile Nzimande (24). The family was shot dead by unidentified gunmen who broke into their house in unit 14 of Imbali last week.
Hlela’s son Mthandeni Basi (27) also committed suicide after returning home to the horrific scene.
Speaking during a visit to the bereaved family on Thursday, Khoza argued that no one should live comfortably while criminals continue to massacre communities.
She urged communities to report criminals.
“It is time for decisive action to be taken to end these gruesome killings of innocents in the township. The scale of the violence currently plaguing our communities shows that there is an evil that must be confronted.
“It is disturbing that people are being murdered like flies in the province and that the murderers are not being brought to justice as quickly as they should. Getting to the bottom of the atrocities happening in the province is imperative. “
She said it is difficult to understand that when such incidents occur, women and children are targeted more.
Khoza said Transport, Community Safety and MEC Liaison, Peggy Nkonyeni has set up a task force to deal with such crimes in the communities.
“We are aware that some members of the community know the people behind such killings. We want this information to be shared with the police to ensure that everyone involved, including the conspirators, is arrested. It is clear that there There’s a drug element to this stuff.”
Khoza added that the department will ensure that young people who wander the streets are taken to youth academies, to equip them with skills.
“We have seen in other areas that many young people are used by drug lords to sell drugs in communities. They often fight for territories and families get killed. If we were to work together to fight the scourge of drugs in our communities, conquer us,” Khoza said.
She sent her condolences to the Hlela family, and assured them that a team of social workers will stay with them to provide psychosocial support.
Umgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Mzi Zuma said, “We should say no in our monitoring. We need clear interventions to respond to the atrocities that have taken place in this commune.
Local Councilor Mabhungu Mkhize said people were living in fear, adding that five similar incidents had occurred since December 2021.
(With contributions from the South African government press release)