Maqubela, normally well-dressed, was led into court in a brown tracksuit, sneakers, and a pink turban.
Bonnie Currie-Gamwo, for the State, told Judge John Murphy that Maqubela had not applied for legal aid ahead of sentencing proceedings on September 29.
She had, however, applied for legal aid for civil proceedings involving a court order that resulted in her share of her husband’s estate being frozen.
Murphy asked whether she still intended to apply for a lawyer to represent her in her criminal case. Maqubela played with an elastic band in her hand and did not seem to hear the judge. He repeated his question.
She eventually replied: “I want to go to my husband’s office. I phoned them long time ago and they said they would take me to my husband’s office. They lie all the time. I know where is my husband’s office [sic]”.
Murphy reminded her again that the purpose of her appearance was to arrange a lawyer or to furnish him with the names and addresses of witnesses she wished to call.
“My husband won’t make fun of me. He won’t shout at me. He wouldn’t make jokes with me,” she said.
Murphy adjourned the matter to speak with the Currie-Gamwo and a legal aid representative in chambers.
In November, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela, in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.
She was also found guilty of forging her husband’s will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.
The Star newspaper reported a week ago that the court had given her more time to file papers against a court order that resulted in her share of her husband’s estate being frozen.
Last Tuesday, Muhammed Kagee, lawyer for the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), asked the court for an interim order to be extended until November 18.
The AFU obtained a provisional restraint order last month and is seeking to strip Maqubela of her share – believed to be worth around R7.2 million – of the estate.
According to the newspaper, this was on the grounds that her share constitutes the “proceeds of unlawful activities”.