Former security guard Bongani Mbhele has been added to the list of suspected “hitmen” accused of operating within uMlazi’s notorious Glebelands Hostel complex.
The Durban Regional Court heard on Thursday morning that Mbhele’s name would be added to the list of the so-called Glebelands seven.
All of the men are being charged under the legal doctrine of common purpose for crimes that include 19 counts of murder and attempted murder, which allegedly took place at the hostel between 19 August 2014 and 26 March 2016.
Magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe was told that Mbhele did not appear in court with his co-accused as the vehicle transporting him from prison had not yet arrived. As soon as he arrived, he would be added to the charge sheet.
According to a police statement, Mbhele was arrested in the Harding area at the end of April. Police said he would be charged with the attempted murder of Fezeka Njiyelo, who was shot and wounded at Glebelands in 2016.
Mbhele also faces two counts of murder for shooting to death Glebelands residents William Mthembu and Thokozani Machi in September 2015, according to police.
Mbhele now joins Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcobothi, Eugene Wonderboy Hlophe, police detective Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize and Mondli Mthethwa.
The state is alleging that the accused conspired to form a syndicate with the common purpose to kill Glebelands’ residents in order to take control of the hostel and acquire control of payments made by hostel dwellers.
Accused one, Mbuthuma, was found guilty of murder – also under common purpose – in April, and was sentenced to life imprisonment for that crime. Accused seven, Mthethwa, is also facing another murder charge.
All of the accused remain in custody.
A trial date should have been set on Thursday, but state advocate Dorian Paver told the court they were still waiting for the outcome of an application to proceed with the matter from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The draft indictment has to be vetted, and has to be approved by the national director,” Paver said.
Magistrate Hlophe said that at the next appearance on June 29, a provisional trial date would be set at the Durban High Court.
“The papers have been sent to the NPA and authorisation to prosecute is awaited,” he told the suspects.
“At your next appearance, you will be given a high court date irrespective if the NPA gives the go ahead.”