Police have arrested five men — one of them a South African Police Service member — in what appears to be a major breakthrough in investigations into the series of murders that have taken place at Durban’s Glebelands hostel.
SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker told the Mail & Guardian that the latest suspect, a 28-year-old man, was arrested at the Umlazi magistrate’s court on Thursday afternoon.
Naicker said the team investigating the hostel killings, which have claimed almost 100 lives, had arrested the man, who had previously been granted bail for a murder at the hostel, when he appeared in court on Thursday. The suspect was charged with another attempted murder case, also linked to the hostel.
Three suspects were arrested on Wednesday following a joint operation by a number of police units.
Two simultaneous raids were conducted at Glebelands hostel and at KwaMachi in Harding. A 29-year-old man was arrested in Harding and a 45-year-old man was arrested in Block 51, Glebelands. A third suspect, aged 34, was arrested in Glebelands Block 43 and items such as a police cap, two reflector jackets, a police laptop and internal correspondence were recovered.
The team arrested a fourth suspect, a 37-year-old police officer, at Durban Central police station while he was on duty on Thursday.
Naicker said it was believed that the five had been involved in a number of the killings at Glebelands and elsewhere in the province. They would be charged and appear in court soon, he said.
The acting provincial police commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa, welcomed the arrests.
“Our detectives have been working very hard to bring down those behind the killings and to ensure our investigations meet up to the high standard that is expected by our courts,’’ Langa said.
Naicker said the suspects had been identified after months of investigation and after people had come forward with information about the killings. He was unable to say which of the murders that had taken place in Glebelands the group had been arrested in connection with.