Ndamase, 46, appeared in court wearing a leopard skin print vest, normally worn by traditional leaders; while the alleged hitmen had clean and shiny shaven heads.
Their lawyer, Adv Lulama Halam, told the court his clients had told him they had no knowledge of the allegations against them and therefore should be acquitted.
They were initially arrested with three others – headman Nkosentsha Nomngongo, 74, taxi driver Lumkile Nofatyela, 42, and Kokstad prison warder Malibongwe Ndwalana, 45.
They were acquitted and some turned state witnesses and are to testify against the trio.
The prosecutor read a postmortem report compiled by Lusikisiki district surgeon Dr Prince Mancotywa, which said Thandisizwe had died of multiple shot wounds.
“Accused number one and the deceased are brothers. They had quarrelled as to who must be the [traditional leader] of the area,” she said.
“The deceased was shot and killed by the hitmen and died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
“The accused persons acted in concert of or furtherance of common purpose when committing the said offences,” the prosecutor told the judge.
By the time Ndamase was arrested he was an ECHTL member. Acting chair Nkosi Langa Mavuso confirmed to Sowetan's sister publication the Dispatch that Ndamase had since been removed.
The trial has been set for three weeks from January 18 to February 4 and the state has a list of 20 witnesses expected to testify.