Maqubela's death could be natural

2013-04-29 22:26
Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

Thandi Maqubela (Picture: Die Burger)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Natural causes cannot be ruled out in the death of acting Judge Patrick Maqubela, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

"I agree with State pathologist Sipho Mfolozi's report that the cause of death could not be determined," said Professor Gert Saayman, head of forensic medicine at the University of Pretoria.

"I am not in a position to exclude natural causes. They cannot be excluded."

He said a sudden and unexplained death was common.

The judge was found dead in his bed at his Bantry Bay flat on 5 June 2009.

Saayman was testifying for the defence in the murder case against the judge's widow, Thandi Maqubela, and her business associate, Vela Mabena.

Both have pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Maqubela has also pleaded not guilty to forging her husband's signature on his will, and fraudulently presenting it at the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

Flu-like infection

In response to a question by Maqubela's counsel, Marius Broeksma, Saayman said: "With the greatest respect, the deceased, at the time of his death, was not in normal or excellent health."

He said the judge had a viral flu-like infection at the time of his death, as indicated by medication found at his bedside.

"The deceased's illnesses and other conditions at the time of his death cannot be discounted as possible causes of death.

"I do thousands of autopsies, many of them involving people who had died suddenly and unexpectedly. In a significant number of autopsies involving sudden and unexpected death we cannot determine the cause of death."

He said the blood found on his face could have originated from infected sinuses.

"Without being unduly technical, post mortems are not an exact science."

Saayman said Maqubela was a "little obese" and this contributed to the rapid start of decomposition.

Other contributing factors to the state of decomposition included that he was warmly dressed, was under a duvet, the bedroom windows were closed, and a fan heater in the room was switched on.

"He also had a flu-like infection, which would have increased his body temperature."

Saayman said the judge's room was "fairly neat" without any signs of a struggle, which would have been evident had he been suffocated.

The case continues on 24 July.

Read more on:    thandi maqubela  |  vela mabena  |  patrick maqubela  |  cape town

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.