8 Glebelands Hostel 'hitmen' conspired to form money collecting association, court hears

2018-06-29 17:07
More than 100 people have died as a result of the violence over the allocation of beds at the Glebelands Hostel. (Photo: Shaun Swingler)

More than 100 people have died as a result of the violence over the allocation of beds at the Glebelands Hostel. (Photo: Shaun Swingler)

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Eight "hitmen" - including a police detective - accused of killing nine residents of the infamous Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, had allegedly conspired to form an association that controlled money collected at the hostel, the Durban Regional Court heard on Friday.

"From time to time they would summon residents to meetings where collection of money would be made. The residents were threatened to make payments to the accused," said Magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe.

Hlophe said all the accused, who were associated with the hostel's Block 52 and other blocks aligned to that block, carried rifles and handguns during the meetings.

The court heard that accused number one, Detective Sergeant Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu, allegedly managed the "enterprise".

Read: Six Glebelands hostel murder suspects denied bail

He was also allegedly assigned to organise "machine guns" that were used to assassinate rival hostel residents, the court heard.

"He played a huge role in threatening residents to pay the money they demanded," said Hlophe.

Mdweshu, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcombothi, Eugene Wonderboy Hlophe, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Mondli Mthethwa and former security guard Bongani Mbhele face 22 charges including counts of murder, attempted murder, racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The crimes allegedly took place at the hostel between August 19, 2014 and March 26, 2016.

Read more: 'Most wanted' man appears in Umlazi court for Glebelands Hostel killings

Hlophe revealed that 107 witnesses would testify in the men's trial, which will start on September 3 in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg.

"I cannot mention them by names because some of their lives are in danger," he said.

He explained that he could not name them because, among the people who were allegedly killed by the accused was a State witness who had been attending a case in Umlazi when he was shot dead.

State prosecutor Dorian Paver said the trial date was set after he received the go-ahead to prosecute from the National Director of Public Prosecution.

More than 100 people have died as a result of the violence over the allocation of beds at the hostel, according to media reports.

All the accused will remain in custody until their trial begins.

Read more on:    durban  |  courts  |  crime
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