Maqubela shocked at husband's smses

By Drum Digital
19 March 2013

Murder-accused Thandi Maqubela was shocked to read sms messages her late husband sent to a lover in Bloemfontein, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday.

Asked if she had ever considered divorce, she replied: "No, but I continued to research, to find out what was wrong with my husband."

She is on trial before Judge John Murphy and assessor Danie Marais, for the alleged murder of her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela, in June 2009.

Maqubela claimed her husband died from natural causes, but prosecutors Bonnie Currie-Gamwo and Pedro van Wyk allege that she suffocated him with plastic cling-wrap placed over his face.

She also faced charges of forgery and fraud, for allegedly forging her husband's signature on a false will, and for presenting it at the office of the master of the Johannesburg High Court, a department that deals with deceased and insolvent estates.

Maqubela's business partner Vela Mabena is also charged with the murder. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Maqubela was called to the stand on Monday to testify in her defence.

Her testimony began dramatically, when defence counsel Marius Broeksma asked: "Did you murder your husband?"

She replied: "No, I did not murder my husband."

Broeksma then asked her whether she forged the signature on the will. She denied the claim.

Broeksma then took Maqubela through her background, including her business activities, how and when she married Patrick, the various jobs that he had held, including a partnership with a legal firm, her discovery that her husband had engaged in extramarital affairs, and her association with Mabena.

Broeksma asked her how she first became aware of the affairs.

She said her husband had spent several years in prison under apartheid security legislation, and that they had married "legally" after his release.

As a married couple, her husband had held various jobs, including a top post with the SA Airways, before his involvement with the Johannesburg legal firm Daly and Associates.

His association with the firm soon led to a partnership, but things went wrong when he apparently lost interest in his legal work, and for months had failed to report for duty, which Maqubela did not know about.

Broeksma read to her sms messages in which the main partner in the firm urged her husband to make up his mind about whether or not he wished to remain with the practice.

This sms said he had for a long time not reported for duty, nor made any financial contribution towards the practice, which he was obliged to do as a partner.

Maqubela said she had been unaware of her husband's affairs until the main partner in the firm informed her that her husband had been seen with other women.

One of the women had worked for one of the major cellphone networks, but resigned after Maqubela confronted her about her affair.

Maqubela told the court she went to Bloemfontein, to confront another woman.

"She apologised, and wept. She gave me a cellphone that my husband had given her," Maqubela said.

"I read the sms messages, and was shocked."

Broeksma asked her why she had confronted the two women.

"I wanted to confirm what Daly was telling me," she said.

The trial continues.

-Sapa

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