2 minute read
7 Nov 2013
2:27 pm

Accused tried to hide contact – judge

Thandi Maqubela and Vela Mabena's attempts to hide their contact after her husband's death imply a collusion of sorts, Judge John Murphy said in the Western Cape High Court today.

Although Mabena chose not to testify, his lawyer advanced that Mabena had visited Thandi and Patrick Maqubela’s apartment on June 5, 2009, to pick up a natural remedies book.

Passing judgment on the pair, Murphy said call records showed there was a fair amount of contact between them after acting judge Patrick Maqubela’s death in the apartment that day.

He said these calls and text messages were suspicious for two people who claimed to hardly know each other and whose contact was said to be for the sole purpose of a book.

The pair have pleaded not guilty to suffocating Patrick Maqubela with cling-wrap in his Sea Point, Cape Town, apartment.

She has also denied guilt on fraud and forgery charges related to a document she claims is her husband’s will.

Phone records showed that Thandi Maqubela tried phoning Mabena around 1pm that Friday and sent him a message saying she was trying to get hold of him. He then phoned her back.

When questioned by the police the following Monday, she said she did not have his telephone number.

The pair were in frequent contact that Monday afternoon and evening.

Murphy said cellphone mapping showed that the phones of both accused triggered the same base station in Barrack Street, Cape Town, that Wednesday.

“This information points to the possibility of a person to person meeting at that time.”

He said the nature and reason for this ongoing communication had not been explained to the court’s satisfaction.

“Accused two’s [Mabena] denial and accused one’s [Maqubela] affirmation of that denial means there is something about that telephonic communication that they wanted to hide,” he said.

Murphy dismissed a witness’s testimony that she had already sold Mabena the natural remedies book before he visited Thandi Maqubela.

He said he was left only with Mabena’s version of events and it was thus reasonably, possibly true that he did not own the book when he visited the apartment that day to buy it from Maqubela.