#ReleaseMartha: Son of murdered husband threatens to take matters into own hands

2018-11-11 09:29
Women protest during the president's summit against gender-based violence. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

Women protest during the president's summit against gender-based violence. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

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Relatives of Martha Marumo's deceased husband say if she receives a presidential pardon for the murder of Clitus Marumo, "something is going to happen".

Speaking to News24 at his home in Sebokeng, south of Johannesburg, Clitus's stepson Leighten Mapogoshe, says President Cyril Ramaphosa must engage with the victims who are suffering due to Martha's actions before making such a call.

"Before you [pardon her], please engage with us, the victims, to hear our side and how we feel because we are still suffering from Martha's actions and to this day she has never apologised," Mapogoshe added.

"I want Cyril Ramaphosa to know that if she receives [a] presidential pardon, something is going to happen. To be quite honest with you, if she is released I am going to take matters into my own hands. We are going to do something to find closure."

Martha Marumo made headlines at the country's first ever national summit against gender-based violence and femicide where the sharing of her personal experience resulted in civil society groups calling for her immediate release.

Marumo was arrested in 2003, on the night of her late husband’s funeral, after police found she killed him. In 2005, the High Court in Johannesburg sentenced her to life in prison for murder and an additional seven years for kidnapping.

Her co-accused, Shadrack Zondo, was sentenced to life imprisonment plus an additional 12 years, while Mahlomola Pule was sentenced to life plus 11 years. A fourth person was acquitted after he turned State witness.

Clitus was abducted from his home on September 9, 2003, by three unknown men. He was shot three times in the head.

The police found that the deceased's wife hired the three men to eliminate her husband.

In her testimony at the National Gender Summit, Marumo said she took the law into her own hands by killing her husband because he was abusing her.

"I am a woman who was abused and decided to take the law into my own hands by killing my husband," Marumo told delegates, who gave her a rousing applause.

Chants of "Release her now. Release Martha now" filled the Saint George Hotel in Centurion as she was escorted back to Kgosi Mampuru prison.

"This was not a good solution," she said in response to the chants.

ALSO READ: Activists plead with Ramaphosa to release woman who killed abusive husband

My father was a good man

Twenty-six-year-old Mapogoshe, who was watching her on screen at his family home, felt a strong desire to defend his late father against Marumo's allegations.

"I was really disturbed by the whole thing and I strongly believe that Martha was lying to South Africans at large and to the officials who were present at the summit. My dad was not abusive towards Martha.

"If you call it killing him in self-defence because he was abusing you, you are not going to [hire] people to kidnap your husband, take him to a remote area and assassinate him. How is that self-defence?"

Correctional Services does not grant exclusive interviews

News24 attempted to speak to Martha Marumo to put Mapogoshe's claims to her, however the Department of Correctional Services would not grant permission for an interview.

"Correctional Services does not grant exclusive interviews between inmates and the media. This is done in order to protect inmates, victims and the families that may have been involved in the case," spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said on Wednesday.

Nxumalo said Marumo, who is 13 years into her sentence, will only become eligible for parole once she serves at least 25 years.

"Martha Marumo is serving a life sentence and will be considered for parole placement after having served at least 25 years, as per our parole policy. The inmate is currently attending rehabilitation programmes and other processes, which at some stage will involve victim offender dialogue," Nxumalo concluded.

ALSO READ: #GBVSummit: 'We hear you and we will not fail you' – Ramaphosa tells delegates

Civil Society groups stand by their call

Activists say Marumo represents several women in South Africa who have and will still have to fight the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide by taking the law into their own hands.

"We call upon the president to grant parole to women who were jailed for killing abusive partners in self-defence or as a result of psychological distress," Nyiko Shikwambana of the Black Womxn Caucus told Ramaphosa.

In August, several civil society groups marched to the Union Buildings as part of the #TotalShutdown campaign, handing over a memorandum of 24 demands to the president. They claim they have not yet received a response from him on the #ReleaseMartha call.

"It was not just about releasing Martha but it was about all women," Shikwambana said.

Read more on:    gender based violence  |  murder  |  women abuse

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