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Witness identifies accused number one in Glebelands attack

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Former police officer Bhekukwazi Mdweshu and others are on trial for murder and attempted murder

Photo of Glebelands hostel
There have been dozens of murders at the Glebelands hostel since 2014. Archive photo: Shaun Swingler
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A state witness in the Glebelands Eight trial in Pietermaritzburg has identified accused number one as the man who tried to kill him and others.

The witness, who testified in camera in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday and may not be named, identified former Durban police officer Bhekukwazi Mdweshu as one of four men he saw during an attack at Glebelands hostel on 19 August 2014.

The man, a Glebelands resident, was the second of four state witnesses who are testifying in camera for the state. Only the media, the accused, and court officials may be present during the testimony of the four witnesses.

Eight men are accused of multiple charges of murder, attempted murder, possession of illegal firearms and racketeering. They have pleaded not guilty. Mdweshu’s co-accused are Khayelihle Mbuthuma, Vukani Mcombothi, Eugene Hlophe, Mbuyiselwa Mkhize, Ncomekile Ntshangase, Mondli Mthethwa and Bongani Mbhele.

Speaking through an interpreter, the witness told the court that he was able to identify Mdweshu during the attack because he knew him.

“He was wearing a brown hat,” said the witness. The witness said he was sitting with other friends in a garage at the hostel on the day of the attack. At about 7pm, he said, he went to a tuck shop run by the first state witness to be heard in camera.

“I had just arrived inside the tuck shop when one of my friends shouted my name. Before he could finish there were gunshots behind me,” said the witness. “I looked behind and I could see that the gunshots were directed at one of my friends in the tuck shop.”

The witness then described in some detail the number of shooters and how he ran away and took cover. Confident while testifying, he said that while taking cover he tried to look at the person shooting.

“With the help of the light I was able to see that it was a person I knew. It was Mdweshu,” said the witness.

State Advocate Dorian Paver asked the witness to describe Mdweshu. The witness pointed at Mdweshu. He said that Mdweshu had been wearing a Daniel Hechter hat.

The witness told the court Mdweshu was limping. “It looked like he had been hurt.”

Martin Krog, lawyer for the accused, asked the witness when he had made his statement to the police. The witness said his statement had been taken by the police in 2017 and that he had never told anyone that he saw Mdweshu during the attack.

“Do you mean you have never shared that with your friends?” asked Krog.

Krog also asked why the witness had waited to make his statement in 2017.

The witness said no police officers had come until then to get a statement from him. “I knew that one day a police officer would come and ask for my statement. Such attacks cannot be left unsolved,” said the witness.

Another state witness will testify in camera on Wednesday.

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TOPICS:  Glebelands trial

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