Maqubela trial: Guard in the dock

2011-11-07 18:11

Cape Town - Security has been stepped up at the luxury Sea Point, Cape Town apartment complex where deceased acting judge Patrick Maqubela lived, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

His widow Thandi is on trial for his alleged murder, together with health product agent Vela Mabena.

Before proceedings got underway, Judge John Murphy warned the media to report accurately. He said the defence councel had complained that the media kept referring to the deceased judge as having been slain or murdered.

This had not been proven and was still very much an issue. Murphy urged the media to make more frequent use of the word "alleged" when reporting on the case.

The trial continued with the focus on security at The President Suits, at the time of the judge's death in June 2009.

A security guard at the complex, Rashied Judar, told the court he had been painting yellow lines on the concrete floors of the upper and lower parking basements from June 2 to 5 2009.

Questioned by Marius Broeksma, for Maqubela, Judar said residents had complained, after the judge's alleged murder, that the security guards too readily allowed visitors into the complex.

The complaints had resulted in security being stepped up, and the old system of opening access doors had been replaced with a new one.

Questioned by State advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, Judar said Patrick Maqubela had emerged from the foyer of the complex into the basement around 08:10 on the day he died.

The judge was neatly dressed in a suit, and carried a briefcase as he made his way to his car.

A few minutes later, a woman clad in her nightgown entered the basement from the foyer. Judar said he did not know the woman at the time, but from TV coverage of the judge's death that night, realised the woman was in fact the judge's wife.

Because the woman was wearing only a gown, Judar said he left the basement to go to the cloakroom. When he returned 15 minutes later, the woman was no longer there, he said.

Currie-Gamwo asked Judar if he could possibly be mistaken about the time the judge had entered the parking area, and if it could have been 06:00.

He said no. Asked why he was so certain, he said he only reported for duty at 07:00.

The trial continues on Tuesday.