Man tells all in plea

2017-11-08 06:01

Details of a bitter quarrel between Godfrey Maphabole and his deceased wife, Thulani Gqamane, have emerged during a murder trial in the Bloemfontein High Court.

The trial was heard over two days (30 to 31 October) and ended after Maphabole pleaded guilty to two counts, culpable homicide and violating a corpse.

The heated argument between the couple had ended tragically with the death of Gqamane on 27 November 2015 at their house in the Bloemfontein suburb of Langenhovenpark.

In a guilty plea statement, written under section 112 (2), Maphabole explained what happened on the ill-fated day, which was followed by his horrendous act of setting ablaze the deceased’s body just outside Winburg.

Apparently money was the root cause of the bitter quarrel.

The money in question was R14 500, which Maphobole said had been budgeted for the couple’s weekend at Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West Province.

The argument was fuelled by the deceased’s attempt to return ten pairs of school shoes worth appro­ximately R2 800.

Maphabole said he had purchased the shoes for underprivileged school children in his home town of Winburg.

“Our marriage was one with occasional money problems, as the deceased was, according to me, inclined to overspend our finances on unnecessary luxury items at the expense of necessary household goods,” Maphabole stated.

A bitter quarrel over money surfaced on 26 November 2015 after Maphabole discovered that the reservation for a weekend at Hartbeespoort Dam had been cancelled due to non-payment.

“On 23 November 2015, I gave the deceased an amount of R14 500 to pay for accommodation for us at Hartbeespoort Dam for the weekend of 27 to 30 November. The deceased informed me that she had made the payment and confirmed the booking. However, on 26 November 2015 I received a call from the relevant holiday resort informing me that due to our failure to make the necessary payment, our reservation and accommodation had been cancelled,” the accused stated.

He said he confronted the deceased on the evening of 26 November.

“A heated argument ensued, resulting in the deceased leaving our home and spending the night at her parental home. On 27 November 2015 during the morning I met with her father and sister at their home where I was advised that the deceased was not there.

“I was further informed that she had removed ten pairs of school shoes to the value of approximately R2 800, which I had bought for underprivileged school children in Winburg.

“She had tried to return my purchase and requested to be reimbursed. It was refused,” he said in the statement.

He said discussion over the school shoes and non-payment for the vacation took place at their home in Langenhovenpark around lunch time.

“The atmosphere became heated and hostile. During the argument I tried to leave the house, but the deceased grabbed me by my arms and tried to prevent me from leaving the house. A scuffle ensued, me wanting to be released and the deceased holding on to me to prevent me from leaving the house. I managed to loosen the deceased’s grip upon me and forcefully pushed her away.

“The deceased lost her ba­lance, fell against the wall and slipped to the ground. I immediately left the house without attending to her,” he said. After this he said he drove around town for a while to calm down and later returned to their place.

“Upon entering the house I noticed the deceased lying on the floor and upon examining her, I realised she had passed away. I was shocked and rea­lised that I had caused the death of the deceased,” Maphabole stated.

Admitting to the two counts of culpable homicide and violating a corpse, he said: “I cannot raise any legally justifiable defence to the charge of culpable homicide and I made myself guilty thereof. I admit that I unlawfully violated a corpse by burning the body of Thulani Emily Gqamana.”

He will be sentenced in 2018.

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