Verdict on wife comes on murder anniversary

2010-12-07 09:20

Judgment on Mulalo Sivhidzo’s alleged involvement in the murder of her husband, former City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu’s son, Avhatakali Netshisaulu, is set to coincide with the exact day of his death today.

Netshisaulu’s family is expected to start at the scene where his charred body was found in the boot of his VW Citi Golf on the evening of December 7 2006, in a bush in Honeydew, northwest of Johannesburg.

This will happen before they make their way to the Johannesburg High Court later this morning to hear judgment on their daughter-in-law now accused of having arranged her husband’s murder.

Visibly drained Dzudzanani Netshisaulu, the mother of the victim, refused to be drawn into talking about the anniversary.

However, State Advocate Maro Papachristorou said December 7 had become a day the family laid a wreath every year at the site of the crime in commemoration of their son.

This year the anniversary comes just a day after details of the plot to murder Netshisaulu were heard.

In his sixth day of handing down ruling yesterday, Judge Naren Pandya recapped records of Sivhidzo’s cross-examination, and her relationship with co-accused Ntambudzeni Matzhenene.

He then went through three statements made by Matzhenene, in which he outlined how he met Sivhidzo and had cellphone conversations with her, allegedly to plot her husband’s murder.

Matzhenene spoke of how Sivhidzo approached him with an offer of R4 000 to help murder her husband, in order to inherit his assets.

He said the two agreed that Sivhidzo would bring three people, while Matzhenene organised two men from Zimbabwe, to murder Netshisaulu.

Matzhenene further said that on December 7 2006 he met Sivhidzo and four other people at the Zandspruit Caltex garage, to finalise the plot.

This meeting appeared to have taken place at the time that Sivhidzo’s mother-in-low told the court that she had disappeared for some time while shopping with her and a young sister-in-law at Northgate Mall on the day – without explaining where she had been to on her return.

Matzhenene said he parted ways with Sivhidzo, rushing home to hand over the VW Citi Golf her husband would use to drive himself to a meeting with him, to discuss a public phone business venture later that evening.

Pandya said Netshisaulu was lured to the Caltex garage so his killers could identify him for the planned attack.

Later Netshisaulu arrived at the filling station, and bought petrol and cool drinks from the garage shop before he drove off.

The third murder accused Arnold Sello provided details of how at this point Netshisaulu was followed by a group of men who accosted him by forcing him to a halt on Nooitgedacht road.

Here he told of how one of the attackers jumped into Netshisaulu’s driver’s seat and drove it to a nearby bush in Honeydew where they attacked him with his bricks, robbed him and tied him up.

The men then bundled Netshisaulu into the boot of his car and set it alight, while he was still alive.

Pandya found that Sello “was knowledgeable” of the details that transpired when Netshisaulu was killed.

He said, however it was clear in Sello’s testimony that he withheld the identities of his alleged accomplices.

Pandya also found that Sello tried to portray himself as merely a witness and innocent, even though it was clear that he was present when Netshisaulu was killed and did not object.

Sello testified that he removed Netshisaulu’s wallet and cellphone before he was set alight and handed them over to one of the attackers.

He said Sello’s evidence was true in how Netshisaulu died screaming, as it was collaborated by police and a pathologist that he was burnt alive.

Pandya also said that Matzhenene’s statement confirmed he met Sivhidzo twice before her husband was killed.

She had claimed meeting him only once, when they were introduced by her husband several weeks before his death.

Pandya said Matzhenene’s statement was a clear confession that he met Netshisaulu’s wife, detailed how the conspiracy was carried out, and that the murder was plotted long in advance.

“It is clear from all evidence that Matzhenene was party to events of December 7 [even though he was not present when the actual crime was carried out],” he said.

Pandya further said it was of concern that after Netshisaulu’s murder made the news, and Matzhenene’s supervisor informed him of the incident, he did not express any concern, even though both he and the victim were of Venda origin.

“It would not have been wrong to have shown some concern... especially for a man you were so keen to meet about the phones,” Pandya said.

Judgment was postponed to today when Pandya is expected to delve into Sivhidzo’s alleged part in her husband’s murder.

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