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Lack of law enforcement during unrest ‘hurt’, say PMB residents

16 November 2021

Residents from an informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg have told the South African Human Rights Commission what hurt them during the unrest was the absence of law enforcement personnel.

The residents say there was no police presence when they came under attack by vigilante groups in their own homes.
Hearings into the mass looting and violence that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July, kicked off in Durban on Monday.
Lwandile Gumede, from the Khan Road informal settlement, says he wasn't there when the community was attacked by a vigilante group and private security officers - who burnt their shacks and shot at them.

His wife was shot but their two-year-old child wasn't harmed. Speaking through a translator, he says he found bullet casings in their home.
"What saddens me more and what was painful is that after my wife had been shot there was no police officer who came to try to find out what was going on and try to maybe assist.

"When she was taken to Northdale hospital, nothing was done for her. She was moved to Grey's Hospital where she got some injections and then she was taken back to another hospital in Howick where receives physical therapy."
The last witness to testify was Roshan Jainath a resident and community activist in Raisethorpe. He believes the local neighbourhood watch group there comprises some criminal elements.
He says a peace and development forum was formed, after the unrest, to resolve racial tensions and help reconcile the communities.

"We came to a conclusion that we cannot have peace without development. We felt strongly that we should rebuild these houses. after the 62 houses that have been burnt, we already replaced 45 houses and this money was raised by the community.

“The plan is also to purchase smart toilets that don't require a sewer system. We cannot have peace between two communities if the area suddenly takes on the look and the smell of an informal settlement.

"Never before has that manifested itself in the racial tensions that happened after the July unrest.”

Source: East Coast Radio

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