Medical tests for judge's widow

2010-03-29 12:24

Cape Town - The widow of acting judge Patrick Maqubela is to undergo medical tests for an apparent heart condition before she applies for bail on Thursday.

This emerged in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday during a brief appearance by Thandi Maqubela, 52, and Vela Mabena, 46, a Cape Town man whom his attorney describe as self employed.

Both have been charged with the murder of Maqubela, who was found dead in his Cape Town flat in June last year.

Ms Maqubela, dressed in black, with a black traditional-style headcloth, was wearing sunglasses as she came up from the cells, but took them off as she entered the dock.

Mabena, who reportedly lives with his wife on the premises of the French Consulate in Cape Town, and is a pastor for the Jehova's Witness sect, wore a neat open-necked shirt and a blue tracksuit top with the emblem of a sports club on it.


Prosecutor Bonnie Currie told magistrate Vusi Mhlanga that the State, by agreement with the two defence teams, wanted a postponement to Thursday to get information "essential" to the State's position on bail.

She said the State had been given information on Sunday about Ms Maqubela's state of health that it had not been privy to before.

"One has to make an informed decision when it comes to the matter of bail," she said.

Advocate Kenny Oldwadge, appearing for Ms Maqubela, said he was ready to go ahead with the bail application, but had agreed to the delay to Thursday.

He said his client was seen on Sunday by a doctor who recommended that she undergo "certain tests".

Oldwadge said he understood she had been taking medication for a heart condition.

He said her defence team had asked investigators that she be held at Sea Point police station so that the doctors carrying out the tests would be able to get to her more easily than at Pollsmoor Prison, where she would likely otherwise be detained.

He said he understood that the medical information the State was seeking would determine whether it would "actively pursue its opposition" to a bail application on Thursday.

Informed decision

Oldwadge also handed to Mhlanga an application for access to a copy of the police docket, and for a statement Ms Maqubela made to police after her arrest.

The State has until Wednesday to decide whether it will oppose the application.

Questioned by the magistrate, Currie said she agreed that Ms Maqubela should be held at Sea Point, at least until Thursday.

There were medical facilities in the Sea Point area, such as an ECG machine, that were not necessarily readily available at Pollsmoor.

Mhlanga postponed the case to Thursday.

Mabena will apparently be held at Claremont police station.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told journalists outside the court afterwards that the State did not believe it had enough information at this stage to make an informed decision about bail.

The results of the tests would mean it would know on Thursday whether to oppose bail.

When Mr Maqubela, 60, was found dead on his bed in his Bantry Bay flat, police at first believed he had died of a heart attack but later opened a murder case.

Several of his relatives, and high court officials, were in the packed court on Monday.