Artist pleads poverty in murder rap

2014-05-25 15:00

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World-famous South African painter and photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa (53) faces a murder trial that could last up to six weeks for allegedly trampling and kicking a sex worker to death in Cape Town.

Ironically, the man accused of killing Nokuphila Moudy Kumalo (23) moments after pulling his Porsche over to the kerb is now pleading poverty.

He arrived at the Western Cape High Court for a pretrial conference with his lawyer, William Booth, on Friday.

State prosecutor Samantha Raphels told the court the prosecution was ready for Mthethwa to go on trial, which could last up to six weeks.

Booth asked for a postponement, citing ­concerns over Mthethwa’s financial affairs.

When Judge Robert Henney asked Booth if Mthethwa would have trouble paying his legal fees, Booth replied: “I hope not. We just have to make sure before the trial starts.”

He told City Press: “Six weeks is a long time. I simply need an opportunity to discuss it all with my client.”

The case was postponed to June 13.

Police say that a man believed to be Mthethwa pulled up in Ravenscraig Road in Woodstock in a Porsche Carrera at 2.40am on Saturday, April 13, last year.

They say CCTV footage captured?–?and an eyewitness saw?–?the man approaching and hitting Kumalo repeatedly. When she fell to the ground, he kicked her. She is reported to have died on the scene.

Authorities struggled to track down the woman’s family.

Kumalo was eventually buried by her mother at the West End Cemetery in Kimberley last June.

Mthethwa, celebrated for his township photographs and bright paintings depicting rural life, is out on bail. He lives in an up-market complex on the slopes of Devil’s Peak.

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