Social worker describes how apartheid affected Maqubela's life

2015-03-18 14:38
Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

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Cape Town - A social worker described in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday how convicted killer Thandi Maqubela's life had shaped her personality and character.

Thomas Tyler, for Maqubela, called Arina Smit to the stand as a defence witness in mitigation of sentence.

She has worked for the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Re-integration of Offenders (Nicro) for 18 years.

She said 60-year-old Maqubela was the eldest of seven children and grew up in a very religious home, with patriarchal structures clear in the family and in church.

Maqubela developed an anxious ambivalent attachment style in her relationships as a child.

"Although the accused within her core family unit might have received consistent parenting on many occasions, the insecurity that the apartheid regime provided to black families didn't necessarily allow them to optimally focus on emotional needs and relationships with their children, because they were in survival mode," Smit said.

This relationship pattern translated to a preoccupied way of relating in relationships as an adult, with wanting to keep a person close and being hyper-sensitive to even minor perceived changes in the relationship.

"When the attachment system is activated, it triggers and hijacks the brain to re-establish the connection to the person who is perceived to be slipping away," Smit said.

This type of impulsive, desperate protest behaviour could be perceived as obsessive by an outsider.

Tyler asked what would happen should such a personality fail to receive affirmation in the relationship.

Smit replied that the person would do whatever they felt needed to be done to bring a person closer to them, including activities which may not be considered appropriate, like talking to a partner's boss about trouble in the marriage.

Last November, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her acting judge husband Patrick Maqubela in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.

She was found guilty of forging her husband's will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.

The acting judge was based at the Western Cape High Court at the time of his death.

Maqubela's defence had asked Smit to compile a pre-sentencing report a week ago to help the court arrive at an appropriate sanction.

Her 50-page report and CV were handed up to Judge John Murphy.

The report was based on three face-to-face interviews with Maqubela, interviews with her family, and collateral information from other documents.

In court on Wednesday, Maqubela wore a brown suit and multi-coloured head wrap, along with her infamous sunglasses.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  cape town  |  crime

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