News24

Judge's widow in court for murder

2010-08-03 19:02

Cape Town - The widow of murdered Western Cape High Court acting judge Patrick Maqubela, who was allegedly poisoned, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Thandi Sheryl Maqubela, 55, appeared together with her co-accused, SANDF chaplain Vela Mabena, 46, on charges of murder, fraud and uttering a forged document. All the charges were linked to his death.

Maqubela was found dead in his luxury Bantry Bay apartment on June 5 last year, when his wife was at their Eastern Cape family farm.

Police informed her he had died from natural causes, but two days later news reports surfaced about the possibility the judge had been murdered.

Maqubela was arrested at her Sandton home in Johannesburg in the early hours of March 25 2010. Later that day Mabena was arrested at his home in Newlands, Cape Town.

On Tuesday, they were warned by Magistrate Jahstree Steyn to appear in the Western Cape High Court for a pre-trial hearing on November 26. Maqubela's R100 000 and Mabena's R20 000 bail was extended.

According to the court record, Mabena was a qualified theologian and had accepted a chaplain's post in the SA National Defence Force prior to his arrest.

A prim Maqubela was neatly dressed in a tight, knee-length pink suit. Her lawyer Kenny Oldwage told the court she had financial problems.

He said he needed the contents of the docket to prepare for trial.

Although State advocate Bonny Currie-Gamwo had undertaken to furnish the defence with these particulars urgently, a formal application to the High Court for more detail was possible.

Currie-Gamwo said the case involved a forged will, in which Maqubela was the beneficiary of R20m.

The couple were married in September 1991. Mrs Maqubela was a director of health consultancy Sawihb (Pty) Ltd.

Her and her husband's joint estate comprised a R12m home in Sandhurst, a R2.6m home in Atholl, a house worth R800 000 in Sandton, a R1.6m house in Balito, one worth R300 000 in Mowbray in the Western Cape and their Eastern Cape farm worth R3m.