Councillor jailed for attempt on wife’s life

2009-12-11 00:00

FORMER Harding town councillor and taxi owner Siyabonga Ngaleka (38) was sentenced to an effective 13 years’ imprisonment by KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala for assaulting his former wife, Anatoria, and for his involvment in arranging for hitmen to shoot her in 2001.

Anatoria was assaulted and raped during the incident in September 2001, but the court ruled that Ngaleka could not be held responsible for the rape.

The first shot missed her and the gun jammed, giving her a chance to flee.

Anatoria chose to give evidence in open court at the trial, which started in Ramsgate.

Earlier this week, she broke down crying hysterically while giving evidence in aggravation of the sentence against her former husband of 10 years, and said that although they are divorced she continues to fear him.

She described a life of abuse during her marriage, saying Ngaleka assaulted her on occasions in isolated and hidden places like a forest where she was not able to call for help, and a ploughed field so that it was difficult for her to run away.

During their marriage he controlled her finances and did not want her to support her parents even though she was working as a nurse and earning a salary, she told the court.

For that reason she kept a secret bank account, but one day he discovered it and made her withdraw all the funds in it.

When she fled Harding after the attempt on her life she left their three children, aged four to seven, behind. She has since been paying maintenance for their upkeep.

Ngaleka’s advocate, Chris Snyman, urged the court to consider imposing a sentence of correctional supervision, but the judge said his client has not shown true remorse.

Regarding the assault charge, Tshabalala said Ngaleka took his wife to a secluded spot where he beat her for a long time while interrogating her about who had encouraged her to leave their home.

Anatoria said that afterwards Ngaleka took her to a doctor, but told the doctor that other people had assaulted her.

In the same month two men arrived at her home and attacked her. She had to strip naked to avoid being seen when she fled and had to suffer the indignity of seeking help from neighbours while naked.

Tshabalala sentenced Ngaleka to three years’ imprisonment for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and to a further 10 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

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