Durban - The community at uMlazi’s notorious Glebelands hostel has another reason to enjoy the festive season after the conviction of two men for a murder at the hostel.
The pair were among the most feared at the hostel and had contributed to the murders of the more than 100 people killed there in recent years.
Mawethu Maquthu, 31, was sentenced this week to 15 years’ jail for the murder of Msizi Makhoba at the hostel on June 9 last year. Maquthu accused him of making a noise by hooting, and shot him in the head.
Makhoba’s friend was wounded in the leg in the incident and relocated for fear that Maquthu’s friends would finish him off.
When arrested, Maquthu was found in possession of a vehicle reported stolen in Umbilo, and an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
He was further sentenced to five years on two counts of attempted murder, five years for possession of ammunition, five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm and 12 months for possession of stolen property.
The murder and attempted murder sentences would run concurrently.
Maquthu’s co-accused, Sthembiso Mbanjwa, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for attempted murder.
The residents said the convictions were a sign that the hostel would soon become a safe place.
Earlier this year, residents complained that people were forcing them to pay R50 each for Maquthu’s bail.
“Maquthu’s supporters and friends wanted him out. We were not sure whether the money they were collecting was for his bail or if they wanted to pay for the killing of certain witnesses.
“Knowing that he is going to jail is a relief. We hope that other criminals who remain at the hostel will get the message that crime does not pay,” said a resident, adding that they were grateful that the law was beginning to catch the Glebelands criminals.
“They had been killing people like flies and the inability of the police to protect residents showed they were untouchable and had power over the residents. The residents are happy that the police are doing what they should have done years ago,” he said.
In May this year the Durban Regional Court sentenced Khayelihle “Mroza” Mbuthuma to life imprisonment for the murder of Sibongile Princess Mtshali.
Mtshali, 56, had been watching TV in her room at the hostel when she was shot.
Mbuthuma faced 20 other charges including murder, along with his co-accused, who include a policeman.