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Post - 2021-07-21

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Meetings held to bring communities together

NEWS

NIKITA CHINIAH nikita.chiniah@inl.co.za

MEETINGS between residents from Duffs Road and KwaMashu were held on Sunday to quell tensions. Residents from Duffs Road, north of Durban, claimed they were under attack on Friday and had to flee their homes during unrest in the area. Narend Singh, an IFP MP, and members from the party, Thami Ntuli, the mayor of Nkandla Municipality, and Narendh Ganesh, the chairperson of the Duffs Road Civic Association, convened the meetings in both areas. Singh said: “Mayor Ntuli took a call by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi to go into areas that were affected by the looting and destruction. The meeting between Duffs Road and KwaMashu was held to bring about peace and harmony in the area between all races. At the meetings on Sunday, thousands of people from the hostel in KwaMashu and the residents from Duffs Road were asked to foster peace and reconciliation. “The initiative was to bring both communities together. A committee was also formed with residents from both areas. This is to bring both communities together in unison. We also visited other areas like Lotus Park in Isipingo and Phoenix and we plan on visiting all affected areas.” Ganesh said the joint initiative was a positive step in defusing a potentially harmful situation. “Nearly the entire suburb attended the meeting. We condemn the violence and lawlessness that prevailed and appeal to all communities in the province to exercise restraint and respect for life and property. They should not engage in any acts that have the intent to cause further damage.” Ganesh said that on Friday night, while they were patrolling the area, they heard singing and chanting. “We then went to see what was going on. Soon thereafter we heard gunshots and noticed that an elderly couple’s home was petrol-bombed. They were removed from the area and taken to a place of safety. At about 2am, there was a second shooting. Thankfully, our members were not injured. Shortly after, we noticed that there were about 20 police vehicles at the entrance of Duffs Road. At about 4am, the army arrived and monitored the area. The situation has been calm (since then).” A resident from Duffs Road, who declined to be named, said his family had to live elsewhere with relatives. “We had patrollers out but a mob breached the area and opened fire on us. We ran and took cover. Residents are still afraid as an attack could flare up at any moment." Sandile Gwala, an IFP councillor for ward 39 that includes KwaMashu and Duffs Road, said he attended the peace meetings. “We tried to stabilise the situation and successful meetings were held. We made residents understand that they should not attack each other. We are also calling for police visibility and patrols in the area. “The joint committee with the residents of KwaMashu and Duffs Road will help them form better relations. Although the meeting was successful, we must also take note that criminals are also coming from outside the area. "We have no control of that. We did our best in engaging with the people from the hostel. However, we cannot stop people who are coming from outside the area. The police need to act on this part.”

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