Cop named as kingpin in Umlazi hostel 'hit squad'
Former police constable Louis Mdweshu has been named as the kingpin behind a reign of terror at Durban's notorious Glebelands hostel.
Mdweshu and his co-accused, Khayelihle Mbuthuma, 28, Vukani Mcobothi, 30, Eugene Hlophe, 45, Ncomekile Ntshangase, 34, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, 29, Mondli Mthethwa, 29, and Bongani Mbele, 33, appeared in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Tuesday facing a raft of murder and attempted murder charges.
Mdweshu has also been charged with racketeering.
State advocate Dorian Paver opened his case by telling the court that Mdweshu and Bonga Hlophe, who has since died, ran a syndicate at Glebelands which solicited money from residents and resulted in the deaths of nine residents.
"He was the leader of the syndicate that he and Bonga Hlophe, now deceased, participated and ran unlawfully at the hostel," said Paver.
According to the indictment, Mdweshu and his co-accused would frequently call residents to meetings demanding cash payments from them and would often be carrying rifles and handguns.
"Several witness will implicate accused one (Mdweshu) as the kingpin to the syndicate," said Paver.
All eight men pleaded not guilty to the counts of murder, attempted murder and participating in the conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity.
Their lawyers told the court that they would not be giving evidence and instead would let the state prove its case against them.
The matter has been set down until September 30 and will resume on Wednesday where the state will call the first of 107 witnesses.