South Africa: Witness Describes Purchase of AK47s With Glebelands Residents' Money

10 September 2019

A third state witness on the Glebelands hostel crimes told the Pietermaritzburg High court that he had to flee the hostel in Umlazi after the Police Intelligence Unit told him about an attack aimed at him.

Last Thursday the witness, who is testifying in camera and may not be named, told the court that he was the only person who knew the secrets of accused Bhekukwazi Mdweshu and the other seven accused about the crimes at Glebelands.

On Monday the witness said he had feared to report crimes happening in the hostel to the police because he had lost faith in them.

Testifying for the third day, the witness said some of the money being collected from Glebelands residents was to pay police.

Mdweshu and the other seven accused, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcombothi, Eugene Hlophe, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mondli Mthethwa and Bongani Mbhele are facing 22 charges. The charges include nine murder and seven attempted murder charges. All eight men have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The witness said that after fleeing Glebelands he opened a murder case for the killing of Fikile Siyephu against Mdweshu. He had told the court that Mdweshu had come to him to say Siyephu must be killed.

Siyephu was shot at Glebelands hostel by Mcombothi and Sthembiso Mbanjwa, according to the witness. He said Mdweshu had conspired in Siyephu's murder.

"I received a call from the Intelligence Unit. They told me not to jump off at Mega City because there were people who were planning to kill me." He said it was clear that the person who wanted to kill him was Mdweshu.

The witness went on telling the court that an R5 and AK47 gun was used in an attempted murder in 19 August 2014. "Accused one (Mdweshu) was the one who bought the guns," said the witness. He said some of the firearms that were bought were an R5, 38mm, AK47 and a pump gun. "The accused told me that the R5 gun cost him R9,000."

"Mdweshu demanded to be paid back that money from the money we had collected from the residents. I was with other two men. We counted that money and paid him back R9,000. He told us that he met with a certain police officer to collect that gun in an airport," said the witness.

The witness told the court he didn't know how to use a gun. He demonstrated in court how Mdweshu taught him to pull the trigger.

"The AK47 was bought in Greytown by accused Mdweshu. It was dirty. I could see that it had been buried because it was covered in soil. The person who cleaned it was Mcombothi," said the witness.

He said that in the attempted murder incident on 19 August Mdweshu had been injured.

"Mdweshu was the one using an R5 gun. His relative Ntshangase used the AK47," said the witness.

During cross examination Martin Krog for the defence told the witness that some of his evidence was not written on the statement he made with Brigadier Mbhele. "In a signed statement you only talk about the murder of Sipho Ndovela ... outside Umlazi GG Police station. Your statement doesn't mention anything about you having a meeting about who was next to be killed," said Krog.

The witness told the court that he made two statements including one with Colonel Bhekumuzi Sikhakhane. "I made the first statement with Mbhele after I was being chased at work. I was confused and scared. The second statement I made with Sikhakhane has all my testimony," said the witness. He said he stood by his evidence.

The case continues on Tuesday.

More about Glebelands trial

I tipped off the police before the murder of Glebelands resident, says state witness 05 September 2019

Witness identifies accused number one in Glebelands attack 04 September 2019

Court rules that Glebelands witnesses will testify in camera 03 September 2019

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