Maqubela passionate, caring, court hears

2015-03-16 15:47
Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

Thandi Maqubela (File: Sapa)

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Cape Town - Convicted killer Thandi Maqubela is a caring woman who passionately advocated for the vulnerable, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

This was the testimony of Thuli Mzamane, who worked with Maqubela when they were both midwifery students at King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban in the 1980s.

Called as a witness during sentencing proceedings, Mzamane said the two "just clicked".

The court heard that Maqubela started up SA Nurses in Business in order to teach nurses how to be entrepreneurs.

Mzamane said hundreds of nurses became involved across a number of provinces during their off-days.

Maqubela managed to get a government tender in which the nurses trained communities on HIV/Aids issues in early 2000.

"As a person who is an entrepreneur and a nurse, she was aware of the fact that HIV/Aids was killing a lot of people, and also aware of the fact that we needed to get the information out to as many people as possible," she testified.

"She is passionate about the lives of ordinary people."

Mzamane said Maqubela set up the SA Women in Health organisation for professionals who wanted to help out with early childhood development and elderly women.

She said Maqubela obtained funding for her ventures from wealthy friends and contacts.

Maqubela was deeply religious and prayed for everything that she pursued.

Mzamane said that after being arrested for her acting judge husband's death, she saw a change in her friend.

"She was a bit subdued and she had lost a lot of weight. She didn't really look happy at all."

'A loving person'

A retired domestic worker and nanny has also told the high court how much her former employer, Maqubela, cared about her.

Nokwanda Gonyela, 61, called as a defence witness during sentencing proceedings, said she worked for the convicted killer around 20 years ago, until her retirement in 2010.

Maqubela visited Gonyela in hospital after she had a stroke.

Gonyela moved with the family to Johannesburg because Gonyela's husband refused to pay maintenance.

She said Maqubela gave her furniture and approached her husband's employer to try get maintenance money paid directly from his salary.

"Even when my husband became ill, she assisted me in taking him to hospital and also gave me some medicine from the products she was selling," Gonyela said through a Xhosa interpreter.

Maqubela apparently travelled to the Transkei when Gonyela's husband died and gave money for his funeral.

Gonyela felt she was a part of the family, received a bonus every year, and was promised a two-roomed house.

When acting judge Patrick Maqubela died, Maqubela said she would continue to make sure the house was built.

She described the Maqubela's relationship as loving.

"I never saw anything. I never saw them arguing, never saw them fighting. I only saw them as people loving each other."


In November 2013, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her husband 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 judge was based at the Western Cape High Court at the time of his death.

A panel of mental health experts at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital unanimously found that she was fit to understand sentencing proceedings after she acted out of character at an appearance in September.

The panel's report was handed up on Monday, following the 60-day observation.

Judge John Murphy declared she was fit to understand the proceedings and conduct her defence.

Her lawyer Thomas Tyler indicated he would call a number of witnesses for the purposes of sentencing.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  cape town  |  crime
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