South Africa

GROUNDUP

Legal fee snags delay ‘Glebelands Eight’ hostel murder trial

Legal fee snags delay ‘Glebelands Eight’ hostel murder trial
File Photo: Glebelands Hostel in uMlazi, Durban has been the scene of numerous murders. Photo: Shaun Swingler

Police officer and his co-accused are alleged to have murdered nine men. By Nompendulo Ngubane.

Published originally by GroundUp.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has postponed until Wednesday the case against eight men accused of murders that took place in Glebelands Hostel.

This is so that the accused can sort out their legal representation. The court heard that three of the accused failed to pay their lawyer.

The first accused is former Durban Central police officer Bhekukwazi Mdweshu, 37. Mdweshu’s lawyer Andile Dakane told the court that three of the accused, including Mdweshu, had not paid him for his services. Addressing the KZN deputy judge president, Jerome Mnguni, Dakane said he was withdrawing from the case because he had not been paid.

Judge Mnguni gave the accused until Wednesday to resolve the matter.

The accused in what is known as the “Glebelands Eight” trial are Mdweshu, Eugene Hlophe, 45, Ncomekile Ntshangase, 34, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, 28, Vukani Mcombothi, 30, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, 29, Mondli Mthethwa, 29, and Bongani Mbhele, 33.

There are nine murder charges and seven of attempted murder. Other charges are conspiracy, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, and extortion. There are 22 counts in all.

The state’s indictment says that Mdweshu and all the accused resided at Glebelands Hostel, a complex of structures in uMlazi. The state says the accused conspired to form a syndicate to kill other people who lived in the hostel who threatened their control of payments made by other hostel-dwellers. The hostel consisted of a number of blocks controlled by committees of residents. The indictment says that Mdweshu and the other accused would summon other residents to meetings to announce that a collection of money was being made. The state, therefore, accuses Mdweshu of extorting cash from the residents using force.

The eight are accused of attempting to kill Bongani Mthembu, William Mthembu, Mandlakayise Dyanthi and Lucas Mbekelwa in August 2014.

The state also accuses the eight of killing nine men from 2015 to 2016: Siniko Ncayiyana, Thulani Kati, Sipho Ndovela, Themba Pina, Nkosinathi Ndovela, William Mthembu, Thokozani Machi, Mzwandile Gawuza and Lucky Mtwa. DM

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