Blood of cop accused of Glebelands killings found at shooting scene, court hears

2018-03-28 20:39
Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

Glebelands Hostel. (Gallo Images)

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The blood of a police officer, accused of a string of murders at the notorious Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, was found at one of the shooting scenes at the hostel, the Durban Regional Court heard on Wednesday.

"DNA tests of blood lifted at the scene will prove that it was the blood of the fourth applicant (the policeman)," Lieutenant Colonel Bhekumuzi Cosmos Sikhakhane said.

The samples were lifted at the scene during a shooting that occurred at the hostel on August 19, 2014, he said.

Sikhakhane was testifying in the bail application of seven men, including the police officer, accused of a number of murders at the hostel from August 2014 to March 2016.

READ: Policeman implicated in Glebelands Hostel murders intends pleading not guilty

He is leading a team of policemen who are investigating the killings.

They began their work in July 2017, he said.

Detective Sergeant Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu and his co-accused, Ncomekile Matlala Ntshangase‚ 34‚ Khayelihle Mbuthuma‚ 32‚ Eugene Wonderboy Hlope‚ 45‚ Mbuyiselwa Mahliphiza Mkhize‚ 28‚ Vukani Mcobothi‚ 25‚ and Mondli Talente Mthethwa‚ 28‚ face 20 charges.

The charges include murder, attempted murder, racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, extortion and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In an affidavit read which prosecutor Dorian Paver read out in court, Sikhakhane claimed that Mdweshu was injured during the attempted murders of three men from the hostel's Block R, which occurred on August 19, 2014.

Conflict between residents

Sikhakhane said Mdweshu was taken to Kingsway Hospital after the shooting, where he claimed he sustained an injury during a hijacking.

"He later produced 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," Sikhakhane claimed.

He added that their investigation revealed that a conflict existed between the residents of Block R "and allied blocks on the one hand", and the residents of Block 52 "and allied blocks situated in the vicinity of Block 52".

ALSO READ: Glebelands Hostel - the scene of many murders

He said their investigation unearthed evidence of the involvement of Mcobothi, Hlophe and Mdweshu in the killing of Sipho Ndovela.

"Ndovela... was a material witness in a matter in which one Sthe Mbanjwa was the accused in the case of killing Fikile Siyephu," he said.

Sikhakhane said the evidence they have gathered was that Mbanjwa associated with the seven accused.

"It is clear that members of the applicants' faction are prepared to go to the length of eliminating witnesses who may potentially testify against them in a court of law," he said.

Over 100 deaths

Sikhakhane said prior to July 2017 his team - attached to the provincial organised crime unit - had not been involved in the Glebelands investigations.

In their application for bail on Monday, six out of the seven accused said they believed they were arrested because of the pressure police were under from members of a Glebelands "faction" that wanted to see them in jail.

Sikhakhane denied that they acted under pressure to bring the accused to book.

"We derive no benefit from falsely accusing innocent persons," he said.

Sikhakhane told the court that they had obtained statements from several witnesses who they were satisfied were credible and reliable "as a foundation for a case against the applicants".

He said they have at least two witnesses who would corroborate each other when they testify against the accused.

He also said that the firearm obtained from one of the accused - Mthethwa - during his arrest was used in the commission of some of the crimes the men are accused of.

All seven men were arrested during predawn raids at the end of last year.

They have denied that they played any role in the murders and indicated to the court that they intended to plead not guilty.

They argued that there was no direct evidence that implicated them in the crimes.

The matter was postponed to April 10 for arguments.

All the accused are in custody until then.

The court was packed to capacity with people wearing ANC T-shirts bearing the face of the party's former president, Jacob Zuma.

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

Read more on:    saps  |  durban  |  crime

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