KZN speaker refuses DA a debate on crime, says it's not urgent

DA's Francois Rodgers calls for urgent action against criminals

Several KZN families are mourning the deaths of loved ones killed in gun violence.
Several KZN families are mourning the deaths of loved ones killed in gun violence. 
Image: File

Getting to the heart of crime in KwaZulu-Natal is needed to stop it becoming a bigger crisis. 

This is the feeling of the DA's KZN MPL Francois Rodgers, who has requested a debate in the province's legislature to discuss and table recommendations to decrease crime. 

“To address crime in KZN, the root causes must be addressed. These include the socioeconomic disparities, unemployment and the lack of any real deterrent for criminals. The DA had hoped that this debate would see KZN’s political parties lead the charge against this triple challenge,” he said.  

Rodgers’ request was made as several families are mourning the deaths of loved ones killed in gun crimes. 

On February 13, five people were killed by three armed men in two separate shootings in Mariannhill. Among those killed were two car workshop owners. 

A day later, SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE reported three people were victims of a taxi war in Harding when a group of gunmen fired several bullets at the taxi in which they were travelling. Two of those killed were siblings Mathobela Hlomendlini, 43, and Abongile Hlomendlini, 31. 

Crime in the province was also a focal point when musician Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane were assassinated outside a Durban restaurant on February 10.

Rogers said crime in the province was a crisis and political leaders needed to provide solutions. 

“Crime is a huge problem in the province. The issue needs to be discussed at a political level then cascaded down to communities and come out with some strategy that is going to alleviate crime, murder and rape.” 

The DA’s request for a special sitting for the debate was rejected by legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce. In Boyce’s response to the party, she said the legislature had to consider if the debate was a matter of urgency and found it was not, adding that the legislature had time constraints and would not grant the request. 

“Though the matter that you raise is extremely serious and must be addressed soon, it is not a matter in which time is of the essence and where an urgent debate is warranted. The issue in question, which is rising crime in the province, is a general state of affairs and not a specific matter of recent occurrence,” she said. 

Boyce urged the DA to make a request for the debate through legislature whips. Rogers said this procedure could take months. 

Last month minister Bheki Cele said a police task team was investigating political assassinations in KZN. He claimed the police were “cleaning the house and firing officers who worked with criminals.

“We welcome the six out of eight life sentences handed down by the Pietermaritzburg high court on the Glebelands 8, who were behind the killing spree at the Durban hostel,” Cele said.

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