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Durban - Seven men - one of them a police officer - who are accused of conspiring to kill residents of uMlazi’s notorious Glebelands Hostel, appeared at the Durban Regional Court on Monday for bail applications.

Durban central detective sergeant Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu, 27, Ncomecile Matlala Ntshangase, 34, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, 32, Eugene Wonderboy Hlope, 45, Mbuyiselwa Mahliphiza Mkhize, 28, Vukani Mcobothi, 25 and Mondli Talente Mthethwa, 28, appeared before magistrate FB Mohamed for crimes committed between 19 August 2014 and 26 March 2016.

There was a strong police presence outside the courtroom, with officers moving into the court and guarding the exits as the accused were brought from the holding cells to the dock.

All seven men are facing 17 counts, being conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and murder. Counts 18 and 19 relate to unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm (9mm pistol) and unlawful possession of 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition.

According to the charge sheet, the accused “and certain other persons conspired to form a syndicate with the common purpose to kill persons residing at Glebelands in order to take control of the aforesaid hostel and thereby acquire control of payments made by dwellers at the hostel”.

The victims were mostly people who threatened to frustrate or interfere with their aim of assuming control of Glebelands Hostel.

The suspects will be tried together, as the crimes were committed in furtherance of the execution of a common enterprise, meaning they participated in or assisted one another in the crimes whether they were the actual assailants or not. 

"At all material times, the assailants realised that they would or might have to use force to achieve their objectives, to overcome any resistance to their plans, or to make good their escape. To this end, they armed themselves with an assortment of firearms," according to the charge sheet.

Appearing for the State, Advocate Dorian Paver told Magistrate Mohamed that the legal representatives for all parties had agreed that the matter should roll over until Tuesday. Three days have been set aside for bail application. 

African News Agency/ANA