Policeman implicated in Glebelands Hostel murders intends pleading not guilty
A police officer, accused of a string of murders at the infamous Glebelands Hostel, has told the Durban Regional Court that his own brother had been killed there and that he nearly lost his life there too.
"I moved out to distance myself from violence there," he said.
Detective Sergeant Bhekukwazi Louis Mdweshu made the claims in an affidavit read out in court on Monday in a bail application he had lodged.
However, he moved out of the hostel after the murder of his brother "and an attempt on his life". He did not say when the murder or attempt on his life occurred.
He has been living in Newlands West, north of Durban, since 2016, he said.
"I moved out to distance myself from violence there," Mdweshu said through his lawyer, Jimmy Howse.
He is accused of several murders at Glebelands between August 2014 and March 2016. He was one of several accused arrested in predawn raids at the end of last year for murders that occurred at the hostel.
But Mdweshu denies that he played any role in the murders and indicated to the court that he intends to plead not guilty to the charges.
"There's no direct evidence that implicates me to the crimes," he said.
Mdweshu has been a police officer since 2008, he said in the affidavit.
100 people have reportedly died
The court also heard that Mdweshu was arrested in 1996 on a murder charge, which was later withdrawn. It is not clear whether the charge was related to the Glebelands killings.
Mdweshu has been suspended by the SAPS without pay since his arrest in December.
However, he said he believed the action against him was unfair because his three children and mother depended on him.
Mdweshu and his co-accused, Ncomecile 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 unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Howse represents Mdweshu, Mbuthuma, Hlophe and Ntshangase.
All four of his clients said they believed that they were arrested because of the pressure police were under from members of a Glebelands "faction" that wanted to see them in jail.
More than 100 people have died from violence over the allocation of beds at the hostel, according to media reports.
Mhlongo and Mkhize are expected to file their affidavits in support of their bail application when the matter continued on Wednesday.