South Africa: Glebelands - Witness Tells How 'Protection' Money Was Collected From Hostel Residents

12 September 2019

Some of the money was used for "intelezi"

Some of the money collected from Glebelands hostel residents was used to pay for "intelezi", a mixture designed to "protect" killers when they attack, the Pietermaritzburg High Court heard on Wednesday.

A state witness who is testifying in camera and cannot be named told the court the main accused in the "Glebelands Eight" hostel crimes, Bhekukwazi Mdweshu, was hiding in one of the blocks at Glebelands hostel on the night he attacked William Mthembu and others on 19 August 2016.

Mdweshu and his seven co accused, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcombothi, Eugene Hlophe, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mondli Mthethwa and Bongani Mbhele are facing 22 charges, including nine and seven attempted murders.

The witness, under heavy state protection, said in court one of Mdweshu's hitmen, Bonga Hlophe, had taken an R5 gun from Mdweshu in order to hide it from the police on the night of the attack.

The witness said police were following traces of Mdweshu's blood which was dripping from his back after he was injured during the attack.

The witness, testifying for the fifth day, told the court that residents of Block 52, where Mdweshu was living, were hostile to police.

"They were shouting at the police," said the witness.

He said after the police left Glebelands, Mdweshu was taken to hospital by a relative.

Mdweshu's lawyer Martin Krog argued that the witness had in fact been an accomplice in the crimes at Glebelands hostel.

The witness said he disagrees. "I'm a complainant because I want to see justice being done," he said.

Asked by Krog to explain how the money was collected from residents, the witness said he and others would collect the money from residents maybe twice a month. "Mdweshu told us to tell the people that the money was for their protection," he said.

"We collected the money when he told us to. He would tell us that he needs to pay Cebekhulu [a police officer] or he wanted to buy weapons. I only collected the money once. He didn't trust me anymore. I was removed from collecting the money. He thought some of the money went to my pocket," said the witness.

Krog told the witness Mdweshu would disagree with his testimony. He said the witness was trying to implicate Mdweshu in all the bad things that had happened at Glebelands.

"I'm not implicating him but he is involved," said the man.

The witness's testimony continues on Thursday.

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