Glebelands Eight 'hitmen' go on trial today for spate of murders
They were referring to the expected start of the “Glebelands Eight” trial on Monday in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
Speaking about a shooting at the hostel on Friday, police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said two men were near the traffic lights in uMlazi when they were shot at.
“A 30-year-old man was fatally shot and another man sustained gunshot wounds and was taken to hospital for medical attention.
“A case of murder and attempted murder was opened at the uMlazi police station for investigation,” she said.
The “Glebelands Eight” accused are Durban Central SAPS Detective Sergeant Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu, and Glebelands hostel residents Khayelihle “Mroza” Mbuthuma, Vukani Manenze Mcobothi, Eugene “Wonderboy” Hlophe, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Ncomekile Matlale Ntshangase, Mondli Talente Mthethwa and Bongani Mbhele.
Mdweshu was charged with racketeering, while his seven co-accused were charged under common purpose on nine counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and extortion.
Mthethwa has an additional charge of possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.
Mbuthuma, 28, was in 2018 also sentenced to life for the murder of Glebelands grandmother Sibongile Mtshali, who was gunned down in 2017 by hit men posing as customers in her tuckshop.
Residents who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said they still lived in fear.
“The trial is finally going to start and we have faith in the justice system that those responsible for the many deaths at Glebelands will be prosecuted. We want the cases to be solved so Glebelands can be a safe place for all of us. The start of the trial after many delays means justice is on its way,” said a resident.
The feeling among residents is that the prosecution of the perpetrators will help send a strong message to others, but they are also worried that the killings have not stopped.
“We’re grateful for the work done by the police and the government in investigating the Glebelands murders. We’re appealing to the police to beef up security especially around this time of the trial and up until all the perpetrators have been brought to book,” said a resident.
Vanessa Burger, an independent community activist for human rights and social justice, said there were allegations that money was being collected from residents, allegedly to fund the legal fees for the trial or to pay hit men.
She said the police have been alerted to the allegations that R80 was being collected from residents at different blocks of the hostel.
“It’s been proven time and again that whenever money is extorted from poor hostel dwellers, death will surely follow.
“The community knows this, the authorities know this, and anyone who’s been following the Glebelands hostel saga knows this.
“But time and again the police have failed to act on warnings and information provided to them to prevent loss of life,” said Burger.