Residents walk the streets of KwaMashu Hostel, a hotbed of support for the Inkatha Freedom Party since the 1980s,  Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Residents walk the streets of KwaMashu Hostel, a hotbed of support for the Inkatha Freedom Party since the 1980s, Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

A TEAM of detectives scoured the area around the KwaMashu Hostel on Wednesday, trying to find clues that would lead to the arrest of those responsible for the shooting outside the house of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) councillor Sakhile Ngcamu on Tuesday.

KwaMashu Hostel has been a hotbed of support for the IFP since the 1980s. However, tension arose with the formation two years ago of the breakaway National Freedom Party, led by Zanele Magwaza-Msibi.

These tensions have persisted despite a number of initiatives aimed at fostering peace, such as a summit of political, religious and traditional leaders that was convened by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini last year.

In the latest incident, Mr Ngcamu escaped unhurt, but two of his party’s members from the hostel were not so lucky. One died on the spot, while the other was rushed to hospital, where he was reported to be in a critical condition.

The two men had gone to see the councillor to obtain proof of address when they were caught up in the shooting.

This was the second attack on Mr Ngcamu’s home within four days.

In the other attack, on Saturday night, Mr Ngcamu is said to have been shot at by unknown men, but escaped by rushing to the nearby police station for protection.

This week’s shooting has raised tensions and fear in the hostel, which has been the scene of several incidents of bloodletting and deaths in the past few months.

Mr Ngcamu’s predecessor, Themba Xulu, of the IFP, was abducted from the hostel in October last year by five men dressed as police officers.

Two days later his bullet-riddled body was discovered in Etafuleni, about 2km away from the hostel.

At about that time several people lost their lives in and around the hostel.

The most notable death was that of IFP supporter Siya Dlamini, who was shot and killed outside the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court in full view of journalists and the police. National Freedom Party councillor Mzonjani Zulu was arrested in connection with Mr Dlamini’s death.

Following the latest shootings, police have strengthened security in and around the hostel. Spokesman Col Jay Naicker told journalists on Wednesday that police had assembled a team of detectives to probe the recent attacks.

Meanwhile, both the IFP and the eThekwini municipality have increased security around Mr Ngcamu, with the municipality understood to have added three bodyguards to the number provided by the IFP.

IFP provincial secretary Velenkosini Hlabisa said the party had no doubt the attacks on Mr Ngcamu were politically motivated. "These attacks are taking us back to the bleak period of the recent past that we had thought we had passed.

"We cannot allow a situation where many people have to lose their lives before something is done. We are calling on the MEC (safety and community liaison MEC Willies Mchunu) to reconvene the meeting of different political parties so that we can talk about these things and monitor the situation before it gets out of hands," Mr Hlabisa said.