- Judge Ramarumo Monama convicted former Tembisa police officer Rosemary Nomia Ndlovu of murder on the basis that she ordered six killings.
- But the perpetrators of the murders remain unknown.
- Ndlovu was also convicted of fraud, defeating the ends of justice, incitement to commit murder and the attempted murder of her mother, Maria Mushwana.
"Who killed the victims?" Judge Ramarumo Monama asked when he delivered judgment in the murder trial of former Tembisa police officer Rosemary Nomia Ndlovu.
Although he convicted her of murder for orchestrating the killings, he pointed out that it was still unclear who carried out the actual crimes.
"The State's case is based on the principle of common purpose or common enterprise. Those common purposes were carried out by people unknown to the State," the judge said.
It took him five hours to deliver the judgment.
#RosemaryNdlovu Ndlovu arrived in court under heavy police presence. The former Tembisa cop is accused of ochestrating the deaths of her five relatives and her boyfriend to claim from funeral insurance and life cover policies @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/7QJbFUCnW6— ntwaagae Seleka (@ntwaagae) October 22, 2021
Ndlovu was accused of orchestrating the murder of five of her cousin, Witness Madala Homu, her sister, Audrey Ndlovu; her niece, Zanele Motha; her nephew, Brilliant Mashego; another relative, Mayeni Mashego; and her lover, Maurice Mabasa.
The murders started in 2012 and ended in 2018 when she was arrested.
The State alleged that she pocketed R1.4 million in insurance payouts after the deaths.
In delivering judgment on Friday, Monama said the policies Ndlovu secured on behalf of the deceased were for unnatural deaths.
"As I have mentioned, Ndlovu took policies which were unusual to benefit from in case of accidental deaths," he said.
"She covered her cousin, Madala Witness Homu, as her husband.
"In the event I find her guilty and don't find any substantial and compelling circumstances, I should impose the ordained sanction of life imprisonment," he added.
The judge said the speed with which Ndlovu lodged the insurance claims after the deaths showed that she intended for the victims to be killed and to later lodge claims as a result of the deaths.
The judge found that the evidence of Njabulo Vincent Kunene was overwhelming.
Kunene met Ndlovu in 2011 when he was arrested for the unlawful possession of a firearm.
They met again during the second half of 2016. Ndlovu wanted Kunene to kill her sister, Nomasonto Ndlovu.
"He said Ndlovu persisted that she was in heavy debt, and Nomasonto wanted to expose her for her alleged role in the selling of confiscated guns to criminals. Ndlovu wanted Nomasonto to be killed and later benefit financially from her death."
Njabulo told her that he was not a killer but would link her up with Lakhiwe Andries Mkhize, also known as Ntshebe.
Ndlovu undertook to pay small portions and would settle the balance once the insurance companies had paid her.
"Kunene said they were not going to do it because they saw the plan as a cash cow. Ndlovu was upset because the killing didn't happen. She came up with a different strategy that Nomasonto would be lured to Kempton Park where her drink would be spiked and [she would] later [be] strangled," Monama said.
Kunene later informed the police, who set up a trap for Ndlovu, and she was arrested in 2018.
Monama convicted Ndlovu of the murders.
She was also found guilty of defrauding Assupol, Clientelle Limited, 1Life Insurance and Old Mutual, as well as defeating the ends of justice, incitement to commit murder and the attempted murder of her mother, Maria Mushwana.
Monama applauded State advocate Riana Williams and investigating officer Sergeant Kheshi Mabunda, pointing out the Mabunda cracked the case despite receiving death threats.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane welcomed the convictions.
"We need to give credit to prosecutor, advocate Riana Williams, and investigating officer, Sergeant Kheshi Mabunda, for thoroughly preparing for the trial. They presented relevant evidence to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.
"It was not an easy case to prove. Because of their passion and commitment, they managed to convince the court to convict Ndlovu. We will be arguing for Ndlovu to be sentenced to life for each murder [charge]," Mjonondwane said.
Ndlovu is expected to appear in court again on 5 November for sentencing proceedings.
Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.