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Court doesn't buy cash-for-sex claim

By unknown | Oct 18, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

A former domestic worker was yesterday found guilty in the East London regional court of stealing R73000 from the bank account of her former employer, Dr Mark Tarboton.

This is despite claims Luleka Matwa, 22, made earlier this week that the money was payment for sex.

The state had accused Matwa of stealing Tarboton's bank card, which she then used to withdraw money totalling R73000 between April 28 and July 15 in 2005.

Magistrate Ignatius Kitching was not convinced by Matwa's sex claim, which was denied by Tarboton in court earlier this week. Kitching said Matwa gave "a very vague" description on how they would have had sex and felt that Matwa's version was "unlikely and rejectable".

"You stole that card and withdrew money. You are found guilty on 56 counts of theft," Kitching told Matwa.

He said Matwa never denied that the card was in her possession. He said when the card was "swallowed" by an ATM in Johannesburg on July 15 2005 it was being used by Matwa. Matwa, who resided with the Tarbotons prior to the incident, claimed that she was given the card and pin code by Tarboton.

Tarboton said he never gave the card and pin code to her but that he lost a diary with the pin code written in it .

Kitching said the court was in possession of bank statements of the transactions as an exhibit.

"You started withdrawing smaller amounts, up to R2000," said Kitching.

Nozuko Apleni, Matwa's legal representative, said her client was a first offender and that should be taken into consideration when sentencing her. Apleni said Matwa, who is not formally employed, now stays with her aunt and survives by selling insurance policies for which she earns about R1000 a month. Apleni said they acknowledged the seriousness of the case.

"If given another opportunity, she would go back to school and get proper employment. She would assist her family," Apleni said.

State advocate Elna Smit said the theft was well planned and not a spur-of-the-moment crime. She said Matwa had to be taught a lesson that would send a message to others that they should keep their hands off other people's property and if they failed to do so, they would be punished.

She said, from the evidence heard in court, Tarboton had treated Matwa well. Smit said during the court proceedings Matwa never showed any remorse.

"You laughed during the cross-examination," she said.


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