Alleged Glebelands hitmen return to hostel for in loco inspection
Durban - The so-called Glebelands Eight, a group of men accused of being involved in an extortion racket at Umlazi’s Glebelands Hostel that involved nine murders and seven attempted murders, will return to the massive complex on Tuesday as part of an in loco inspection.
But this time, former Durban Central detective Bhekukwazi Mdweshu, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcobothi, Eugene Wonderboy Hlophe, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Mondli Mthethwa and Bongani Mbhele will be shackled and under heavy police and correctional services guard.
An application for the inspection was made on Monday morning at the Pietermaritzburg High Court during the start of the second session of the trial, carried over from September 2019.
The application was made by Legal Aid South Africa attorney Xolani Sindane, acting on behalf of Mbuthuma, Mcobothi, Mkhize, Mthethwa and Mbhele.
“My Lord, I have been instructed by the accused that I am representing to make an application for accused number 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. [The application is based] mainly on the testimony of the last witness [who appeared in September],” Sindane told Judge Nkosinathi Chili.
The witness in question cannot be named as his testimony was held in-camera.
A former resident and shebeen owner at Glebelands, the witness told the court last year about several murders and attempted murders that took place at the hostel, and placed several of the accused at the crime scenes.
But the accused hit back hard, telling the witness that he had implicated them in the crimes because, amongst other things accused six, Mkhize, had seen the witness kill Sphamandla Cele, a known Glebelands hitman, and was trying to save his own skin.
Tuesday’s inspection is intended for attorney Sindane to show the court that the witness could not have seen what he has alleged.
Senior State prosecutor, advocate Dorian Paver, told the court on Monday that he had no objection to the inspection, but “if we are going to this extent, there are other things the court may want to see”.
Umlazi is a massive complex comprising dozens of large blocks and, logistically, it will be of benefit to the court to see exactly where certain crimes took place and how the accused allegedly navigated their getaways.
Paver also told the court that it was “imperative” that the accused “participate in the inspection”.
Mdweshu is alleged to have been the leader of the cabal, and the one who allegedly purchased illegal weapons (in some instances from dirty cops) with money that was extorted from residents.
All of the accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges they are facing, which took place at the hostel between August 19, 2014 and March 26, 2016.
African News Agency (ANA)