On Friday 15 September the Durban Magistrate's Court sentenced Mxolileni 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 on 11 June of the same year.
Since March 2014 when the violence first began, Bhani is the first -- and we hope not the last -- Glebelands hitman to be convicted of the murder of hostel residents. These hitmen have operated with impunity for too long and cut down ANC councilors, taxi bosses and community leaders throughout southern KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The remaining three SAPS Provincial Task Team members who took over Glebelands dockets for investigation in early 2015, and who have remained dedicated to their duty to free the hostel from the grip of hired killers, are thanked and highly commended for their hard work, commitment, dedication, honesty and integrity.
It must be noted that these members have often had to work against seemingly insurmountable odds, not least being corrupt and inefficient members among their own ranks, poor and inconsistent management, a lack of resources, and the difficulties of convincing understandably fearful and distrusting community members to put their lives on the line and assist the police in their investigations.
This success clearly demonstrates what can be achieved in reducing the flow of blood from Glebelands, when officers concerned execute their duties with excellence. The community is continually urged to "cooperate with the police," but this record-breaking conviction shows what can be accomplished when the police "cooperate with the community."
It is hoped that this conviction will mark a turn in the tide of violence that has engulfed Glebelands for far too long and serve as a warning to others...
We also salute the witnesses and others who have worked hard, sacrificed much and risked their lives for justice in these cases. Your bravery and tenacity brings hope to us all and hopefully, some degree of solace to the traumatised families.
It is hoped that this conviction will mark a turn in the tide of violence that has engulfed Glebelands for far too long and serve as a warning to others that, sometimes, regardless of who your friends are, who they are connected to and how much money they have -- you are merely a tool that can be thrown away when your usefulness has reached its sell-by date.
It is hoped too, that one day, maybe soon, we will see your handlers in the same place as Bhani was today. We will be behind you until that day.
To the three KZN Provincial Task Team detectives -– you know who you are –- we see you -- we salute you. But this is not the end.