Durban - The National Prosecution Authority (NPA) revealed on Wednesday that it has DNA evidence placing a suspended police detective at the scene of a botched hit at the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi.
State Advocate Dorian Paver read the revelation into the court record at the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday.
The statement was given as part of the reasons why the State should not grant bail to six of the seven men, including the officer, accused of being part of a “committee” that organised and carried out at least nine killings against people they believed either threatened them or stood in the way of the groups’ ambition to hi-jack rental collections at the hostel complex, south of Durban.
Paver, reading the affidavit of police lieutenant colonel Bhekumuzi Sikhakhane from the Durban Organised Crime Unit (OCU), said the specialised unit first began to investigate the “incidents” at Glebelands after the release of a damning Public Protector report made public in June 2017.
“... [The OCU] first became involved during July 2017. Given the sheer plethora of cases, it took time to identify witnesses who would be prepared to assist us in our investigations given the levels of intimidation,” read Paver.
“Furthermore, we had to overcome a lack of trust on the part of witnesses on account of the conduct of those officers previously seized with the investigation of these matters.”
The Public Protector’s report said 44 people were killed at the hostel between March 2014 and June 2016, while many others were displaced by gangs trying to seize control and manage the lucrative rental collection and bed rental trade.
Paver continued that in addition to “direct evidence of witnesses” against the all the accused, the state would provide evidence against SA Police Service Durban Central detective Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu, 37, that placed him at the scene of at least one of the attempted murder scenes at Block R in August 2014, otherwise known as Russia Block.
“DNA tests of blood lifted at this scene will prove that it was the blood of [Mdweshu]. [Mdweshu] was removed to Kingsway Hospital where he claimed that he had sustained an injury during a hijacking,” said to Paver.
He said Mdweshu later handed a medical certificate issued by a traditional healer to his superiors at Durban Central Police Station in support of a claim for sick leave where he was diagnosed as having “abdominal cramps, vomiting and righten (sic) leg pains”.
The fourth applicant was clearly misleading medical practitioners as well as his employer regarding the cause of his absence from work, said Paver.
He further outlined evidence that showed the same firearm had been used in the commission of several crimes, some of the accused were involved in the killing of witness in an unrelated trial and had intimidated witnesses from within prison over the telephone.
“I am of the opinion that the applicants will not stand trial and that the interests of justice will not be served by their release on bail,” said Sikhakhane’s affidavit.
Earlier, attorney Peter Mhlongo gave reasons as to why his clients Mbuyiselwa Mahliphiza Mkhize, 28 and Vukani Mcobothi, 25 should get bail. His third client, Mondli Talente Mthethwa, 28, withdrew his bail application because he is standing trial in an unrelated murder investigation.
The matter was postponed to 16 April for argument.
African News Agency/ANA