Durban - Five of the eight men convicted for a spate of murders at the notorious Glebelands hostel in Durban have been sentenced to life behind bars.
The eight accused were sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday, following their guilty convictions in October.
The men were found to have terrorised the community and killed nine people between 2014 and 2016.
The National Prosecuting Authority said the convicts conspired with each other to eliminate or kill residents of the hostel who threatened their control of the hostel.
Among the accused is a former Durban Central police detective Bhekukwazi Mdweshu, who the State alleged was the leader of the cabal.
Mdweshu was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to an effective 10 years imprisonment.
The other seven accused are:
Khayelihle Mbuthuma - convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to an effective term of life imprisonment.
Vukani Mcobothi - convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, four counts of attempted murder and three counts of murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Eugene Hlophe - convicted of four counts of attempted murder and jailed to five years.
Mcomekile Ntshangase - convicted of four counts of attempted murder and jailed to five years.
Mbuyiselwa Mkhize - convicted of two counts of murder and given life imprisonment.
Mondli Mthethwa - convicted of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of murder, unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition and will serve a term of life imprisonment.
Bongani Mbhele - convicted of two counts of murder and was sentenced to an effective life imprisonment.
All the accused lived in the hostel.
The victims were: Siniko Ncayiyane, Thulani Kati, Sipho Ndovela, Themba Pina, Nkosinathi Ndovela, William Mthembu, Thokozani Machi, Mzwandile Gawuza and Lucky Mtwa.
Seven others were injured.
Explaining the sentencing proceedings, provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said: “In sentencing them, the court imposed a term of life imprisonment for each count of murder, and where there were more than one count, the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.
“Regarding the attempted murder charges, the court found that the men were in custody (awaiting trial) for an excess of five years. Therefore, the court imposed a sentence of 10 years imprisonment, where five years were suspended for a period of five years.
“The NPA welcomes the successful finalisation of this matter, and we trust that the sentences imposed will have a deterrent effect on like-minded individuals.”