Police officers armed to the teeth formed a human wall at the court appearance of 13 members of a robbery gang involved in the Jeppestown shootout with police.
The gang appeared in the Johannesburg high court yesterday for final preparations of the trial, scheduled for January 28.
Ninety witnesses will be called by the state to testify against Mary Maleke, 29, Senzo Mweli, 26, Nkosinathi Mchunu, 31, Sizwe Mbuyazi, 25, Khumbulani Mabaso, 33, Siswe Dlamini, 21, Sihle Mdunge, 25, Muzulelwa Vezi, 28, Siyanda Mngomezulu, 23, Linda Hlongwa, 22, Bekokwakhe Zulu, 28, Mkhonzeni Sesiba, 29, and Zinto Mqunu , 27.
Each of the accused has been allocated an individual attorney who will battle it out with Joanie Spies, the state prosecutor who put serial killer and paedophile Sipho Dube behind bars for life.
The trial will be heard before Judge Winston Msimeki.
All the accused, except for Maleke who is the only female, have been charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery and possession of illegal firearms.
Maleke is accused of having planned the robbery with the gang. She worked at Pick 'n Pay.
On June 25 2005, the gang allegedly walked into the supermarket in Honeydew and robbed it.
That same day one of the gang members, Thembinkosi Tshabalala, who has since died, was arrested. He led the police to a house in Jeppestown where the rest of the gang was hiding.
A gun battle ensued that left four police and eight robbers dead.