KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Peggy Nkonyeni has urged families whose relatives are missing and survivors of the unrest to make contact with the police.

Nkonyeni and Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza together with interfaith leaders, met with grieving families in the areas of Zwelisha, Inanda, Amawoti, Bhambayi and Phoenix in the north of Durban to introduce a team of the social workers put together to provide support.

Referring to a preliminary report, Nkonyeni says the police are investigating 35 murder cases linked to unrest two weeks ago in the Phoenix area.

According to the report, 40 bodies have been found in Phoenix and surrounding areas. Twenty bodies have been identified by their next of kin.

Suspects arrested in connection with the Phoenix killings to appear in court:

Nkonyeni has called on the communities to remain calm while the police are continuing with investigations.

“We are saying the law should take its course, but we also wish to condemn the element of racism that has actually cropped up in this area. We are hoping that through the peace committee that has been established by the Minister of Police [Bheki Cele] and the community here. People are going to find solace in knowing that the provincial and the national government are doing something to ensure that the element of racism is rooted out,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza says it is important for government to change how killings in the Phoenix area in the north of Durban are categorised, and declare it a massacre.

She says there are people who have been severely traumatised.

“As social development, we think we have a lot to do here, just to provide that psychosocial support, especially to the families. [We will also be] providing further support to ensure that our kids … that bad images is erased in [their minds] them. So we want to dispatch our social workers to take them through continuously,” adds Khoza.