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Judge says Tladi's testimony filled with holes

By unknown | Apr 02, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

The widow of the slain Limpopo pharmacist Andrew Tladi, 42, was the last person his family suspected of any involvement in his brutal murder.

This was said by Kgahlane Andrew Tladi's cousin, Mabiletse Tladi, after Kgomotso Tladi, 35, and her three co-accused were convicted of murder by Judge Nico Coetzee in the Middelburg circuit court, Mpumalanga on Friday.

The cousin said: "We supported her after the tragedy. We paid all the funeral costs after she told us she had no money.

"We were shocked when we found out that she was the main suspect," said Mabiletse Tladi.

"Even her remark that 'it's not me' after she identified his body at the Marble Hall government mortuary on December 4 2004, was not taken seriously by the family," he said.

"Kgomotso wept hysterically during the funeral. I remember how we had to hold her up on either side because she was about to collapse. But immediately after the funeral she was up and about and left the family home before 4pm that day and rushed back to Pretoria," said a female relative.

During the trial, the court heard that the widow - who was convicted with Eva Sithole, a friend and traditional healer, and two businessmen, Manase Mogalaka, 40, and Gilbert Makhobela, 46 - received R2,6million from one of the dead man's life insurance policies.

Immediately after the four prisoners were ordered to go down to the holding cells and the judge had left the court, family members and friends left their seats in unison and started jeering, ululating and insulting the four killers while other onlookers danced on the benches.

From the court buildings and into the street, the jubilant crowd sang and played hymns from vehicles at full blast to express their satisfaction at the ruling.

Coetzee found all four guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

He also turned down requests by Tladi and Sithole's defence advocate, Johan van Wyk, to allow them to go home and make arrangements for someone to look after Tladi's three minor children and for Sithole to attend her brother's funeral the following day. The judge said that they both faced mandatory life sentences plus a minimum of 15 years in jail for robbery.

He described Tladi's testimony that she only wanted her husband threatened by "slapping" so that he would return home as improbable.

He couldn't understand why she wanted him back because she already had a new boyfriend.

He also said she wanted him killed because he had cancelled her credit card and that she feared he would divorce her. Coetzee also said the widow needed the R2,6 million insurance money to pay the killers.

She had no other money for the agreed payments because the only cash she had came from her overdraft.

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday.


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