“…I have come to the conclusion, observing you now today, that you do not appear to me to be well and for that reason I have decided to stand the matter down until 2.30pm,” said Western Cape High Court Judge John Murphy.
He said the district surgeon would be able to inform the court on her state of health.
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.
Maqubela had earlier appeared to confirm whether she would be appointing a legal aid lawyer for sentencing proceedings on September 29.
Normally well-dressed, she was led into court in a brown tracksuit, sneakers and a pink turban.
Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo said Maqubela had not applied for legal aid in her criminal matter but had applied for legal aid for a civil matter involving her husband’s estate.
Murphy reminded her that sentencing would take place at the end of the month and asked whether she intended getting a lawyer to represent her.
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 pressed for an answer and said that if she wanted to represent herself, she should furnish him with the names and addresses of witnesses she wished to call that day.
She sat in silence for a while and replied: “My husband won’t make fun of me. He won’t shout at me. He wouldn’t make jokes with me.”
The court adjourned and Murphy consulted the prosecutor and a legal aid representative before deciding to send her to the district surgeon.
The Star newspaper reported a week ago that the court had given Maqubela 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 constituted the “proceeds of unlawful activities”.