ANCYL task team to engage Phoenix residents on violence, racial tension

A body lies in a road in Phoenix, Durban, after violent protests in the area. Dozens of people are reported to have died. File image.
A body lies in a road in Phoenix, Durban, after violent protests in the area. Dozens of people are reported to have died. File image.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) on Friday deployed its task team to visit Phoenix in Durban after reports of racial tensions and killings in the area last week. The task team will engage the community and families who were affected by the unrest.

Speaking to TimesLIVE before the engagement, spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize said the government was not doing enough to address the tensions in the area.

“We have engaged with community members and they're giving us different versions of what is being said by the SAPS. We decided it's best we interact with people on the ground so we get factual information and a true sense of what is happening,” said Mkhize. 

Continued failure to hold those behind the killings accountable and preaching peace would worsen the problems plaguing the community, said Mkhize.

She said police and state security ministers Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo should have prepared for the unrest.

Mkhize also called for the arrest of the alleged killers. 

“The evidence is there. There are videos ... we will pressure ministers Bheki Cele and Ayanda Dlodlo because as the intelligence, they should have known it would come to this,” she said.

The statement by the ANCYL was met with some criticism from those who questioned the timing. “After so long? Why didn't you act sooner?”

To this, Mkhize told TimesLIVE: “We were quiet because we have a government, but now we are standing up because our government is seemingly not as capable as we thought. We are not the police and we are not the premier of KZN,” said Mkhize, who reiterated their commitment to pressuring the ruling party to give the Phoenix tensions the attention it deserves. 

Phoenix was thrust into the spotlight last week after suspected looters were shot by residents who also barricaded the roads. A community member who spoke on condition of anonymity told TimesLIVE, “if you are looting, we are shooting”.

Community leader Blessing Nyuswa said they were not allowed to recover bodies of community members who had allegedly been killed. 

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were engulfed in violent protests and looting of businesses last week. The initial demonstrations in KZN were linked to demands for the release of former president Jacob Zuma. The violence later spread to parts of Gauteng.

Minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told a media briefing on Thursday that four suspects have been arrested in connection with the unrest, as the authorities went after the alleged instigators. 

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