Urgent court order to end widows’ squabble

2008-10-20 00:00

Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Piet Koen granted an urgent court order in chambers yesterday afternoon in a bid to resolve the ongoing “volatile” dispute between the two “wives” of deceased policeman, Thulani Ngcobo.

In terms of the latest order — which is similar to an earlier consent order granted by the court on October 10, but which was not adhered to — Ngcobo’s body is to be taken to and kept at the home of Ngcobo’s second “wife”, Rittah Ndlovu on Friday.

The court has heard that Ngcobo bigamously married Ndlovu some 13 years ago and never revealed that he had not divorced his first wife, Zandile Ngcobo.

The court has ordered that a member of the SA Police Services be present at the Howick property while the body lies in rest there, to ensure that the rest of the court order is complied with.

Judge Koen has ordered that the body be collected at 10 am on Saturday and taken to Ashdown where Ngcobo’s first wife, Zandile, will conduct the funeral service and perform the last rites and burial.

Each of the parties has been ordered to pay its own costs.

Responding to Ndlovu’s application requesting that she be held in contempt for being in violation of Judge Koen’s earlier court order, Zandile Ngcobo said she no longer wants her late husband’s body to remain in Howick overnight as she has received reports that Ndlovu and her family are preparing to bury him there.

She said a family member, Xolani Ngcobo, went to Howick on October 16 to “check what was going on”.

“There he found that a tent had already been erected and a beast was walking around ready to be slaughtered. This concerned me as, in our culture, you use the skin of the slaughtered beast to cover the coffin when a burial takes place.”

Ngcobo said one would not act in this manner “if you are only going to perform a night vigil”.

In her affidavit she also denied allegations that she and other family members uttered threats to anyone during a dispute over the release of the body from Avbob Funeral Services at the weekend.

Ndlovu alleged in her affidavit that during the dispute at Avbob last Friday (October 17) members of Ngcobo’s family had been “aggressive” and uttered threats.

“They threatened to shoot us and said they have enough money to bail the person who kills us … They said we shall never get the deceased’s body,” she stated.

She also alleged that she was told that tNdlovu’s family also threatened the manager of Avbob, Keith Love, and to “shoot the windows” of the building.

Ndlovu said that when she approached Avbob initially to give effect to the court order granted on October 10, she was told it was too late to prepare the body for delivery and that prior arrangements had not been made to pay for the funeral.

Ngcobo, who was present, had then begun insisting that it was “not fair” that the body be kept at Howick overnight.

The dispute had intensified last Friday at Avbob.

Because of the “volatile” situation, she had requested a police presence there.

No settlement could be reached, resulting in the latest court application.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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