Many believe the Glebelands violence is driven by corruption, particularly involving construction tenders and unit allocation. The vast majority of residents killed were targeted because they opposed the ward councilor’s alleged corruption and nepotism.
Late last year, seven of Glebelands most notorious ‘hitmen’ – including the hostel’s rogue cop – were arrested and charged with 19 counts of murder, attempted murder, racketeering, extortion and possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition. Elitsha has been tracking the ‘Glebelands 7’ progress through the criminal justice system. This is Part 2.
Tshepo Hlambelo, a former Glebelands resident who claimed he was tortured by POP Unit members of the SAPS in 2014 after he was violently evicted from his hostel room by thugs and hitmen, eventually fled to his home in the rural areas near Bizana after he continued receiving death threats. He went missing on 14 Dec 2017.
Provincial SAPS leadership testified at the Moerane Commission last week. Evidence leader, Adv Manyathi presented them with 31pages of witnesses’ allegations against them ranging from negligence to actual criminal involvement in a number of killings in KZN. One of the former Umlazi Cluster Commanders, Maj Gen Chiliza lied under oath. He wasn’t alone; the other 5 senior commanders also backed him, but Chiliza’s testimony was particularly shocking. He claimed to be unaware that Sipho Ndovela and many of the other Glebelands leaders killed had been receiving threats and were in danger. I have evidence in the form of emails, screenshots of Whatsapp conversations etc that prove he lied.
Two Glebelands residents and employees of the politically connected private security company, Secureco METSU, contracted by the eThekwini Municipality to provide security at the hostel, have been implicated in at least 7 Glebelands murders and a further 3 attempted murders – Sivuyile Luna, whose trial for the murder of a Glebelands woman in Jan 2017, was remanded to February this year and Bongani Mbhele, for whom police recently issued a ‘wanted’ statement. Luna was a Block 52 resident while employed to undertake armed patrols at the hostel. Mbhele has been employed by Fidelity (Secureco’s holding company) since at least 2011, and although he did not perform guarding duties at the hostel, he is believed to have murdered at least 5 people by the time he was first arrested (and later released) in September 2015.
On Friday 15 September the Durban Magistrate’s Court sentenced Mxoleleni Hopeson Bhani to life imprisonment for the murder of Sipho Ndovela, killed on 18 May 2015 at the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court, and 12 years for the attempted murder of another Glebelands resident. But there were others – police members – also implicated in Ndovela’s murder. Bhani did not act alone. Glebelands will never be free of violence and fear unless officers colluding with killers are brought to book. The late Sipho Ndovela was the former Block 56 chairperson. He ran a small tuckshop and provided security at a nearby taxi rank.
Researcher and writer Vanessa Burger, who testified at the Moerane Commission on the violence wracking Glebelands hostel, writes that the hitman who shot Sindiso Magaqa in July can be traced to Glebelands.
CSAAWU has accused the South African Police Services of colluding with farm owners when it comes to farmworkers laying charges against farmowners. This comes after a farmworker was taken to a deserted place and threatened with violence and death following a break-in at a farmer’s house in Paarl.