Durban - Mxoleleni Bhani, a Glebelands Hostel’s hit man and the first person to be convicted for the notorious hostel’s killings, was convicted for another murder, that of Lamontville Taxi Association chairman Vela Ndebele.

Bhani, 28, and his co-accused, Mbeko Duma, 29, were arrested by the Lamontville community soon after they had shot Ndebele at the local community hall moments before a taxi association meeting on June 11, 2015.

Bhani is serving a life sentence for the murder of Sipho Ndovela, a Glebelands resident who he shot dead outside the uMlazi Magistrates Court.

The execution-style death of Ndebele led to more deaths within the association including Ndebele’s son, who had taken over the business.

Bhani and Duma had pleaded not guilty to murder and the charge of possession of illegal firearms, relating to guns which were recovered hidden at a Lamontville home, where they were arrested while trying to flee from the angry community.

Judge Kate Pillay found that their version - that they had been walking to the SJ Smith (Wema) Hostel in uMlazi, and avoided using the main road by taking a shortcut past Lamontville and had run inside a house that was being renovated when they heard shots - was untrue.

They told the court that police came and accused them of shooting a man at the local hall and arrested them, claiming that the firearms found hidden there were theirs.

On Tuesday, Pillay said she was satisfied with the work of the police.

She said the evidence of witnesses and description of the accused’s clothes matched the clothes worn by Bhani and Duma when they were arrested.

She said the bullets removed from Ndebele matched the firearm found on the scene where they were arrested.

Pillay said the only witness could not identify the accused as it was clear that he was extremely traumatised.

“It is understandable, considering the level of violence in the taxi industry. You both did not dispute that you were together, it was not clear what you were doing in the area. It is clear that you acted together and had gone there to kill the deceased,” Pillay said.

Outside court, Ndebele’s family struggled to contain their emotions about the loss they suffered. A family spokesperson said they were relieved that justice had been served and they were now waiting for ­sentence to be passed. They hoped it would ensure that Ndebele’s killers were kept where they would never hurt anyone again.

Sentencing is expected on Wednesday.

Daily News