The African National Congress is starting its “dispute resolution process” in a bid to address the a.
Despite being convicted of murdering her entertainer husband, Najwa Petersen would rather die than break down in public, the Cape high court heard yesterday.
Forensic criminologist Irma Labuschagne presented a 32-page report to the court, commissioned by Najwa's defence team, as sentencing proceedings got under way.
She said she had spent "hours and hours" interviewing Najwa in Pollsmoor prison and that she had been a "completely different person" to the one in court.
"I said to her, why do you not show anything in court?"
She replied she would "rather die" than give people the satisfaction of seeing her crumble.
"That was for her of extreme importance."
Najwa's set features - which some observers have ascribed to the heavy medication she has been taking - have been a hallmark of the trial.
Apart from an occasional smile when greeting or talking to her legal team, and an unobtrusive tear when she was found guilty of murder in December last year, she has shown no emotion.
Labuschagne said the publicity and attention given to Najwa during the trial had in themselves been a humiliation and a form of punishment. "It's like being a caged animal . you can't get away from it."
Labuschagne said she had been involved in several cases where the accused had "nearly gone mad" under relentless media attention.
According to her written report, Najwa said her husband had no business sense and had lost "millions" in failed money-making schemes. One deal that had gone badly wrong was a pyramid scheme.
"Taliep would believe anything," Najwa had told Labuschagne.
"If they said to him you can make money like this - 'give me two million and I will make you eight million' - he did it."
Labuschagne said many of Taliep's friends and business associates had confirmed to her that Taliep had no financial acumen.
She said Najwa had reportedly been the one in the family who held the purse strings together.
"Some of her friends said she never got recognition for the fact that she kept the show going with her money," she told the court.
Labuschagne also told the court that Najwa still maintained she was innocent of the murder.
Najwa and two hitmen were last year found guilty of killing Taliep in the couple's Cape Town home in 2006. - Sapa