Puzzling Kadwa murder trial draws to close

COVER UP: Nabeela Kadwa, tries to cover her face as she leaves the Johannesburg high court. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 07/12/06. © Sowetan.
COVER UP: Nabeela Kadwa, tries to cover her face as she leaves the Johannesburg high court. Pic. Veli Nhlapo. 07/12/06. © Sowetan.

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

As the state's case against three members of the Kadwa family, charged with the murder of leading Johannesburg plastic surgeon Anwar Kadwa and his wife Munirah, draws to a close the spotlight now falls on the accused to prove their innocence.

In the dock are the couple's only two children - Riaz, 23, his sister Nabila, 18, and Riaz's wife Nabeela, 22.

The state alleges that the three were present when Anwar and Munirah Kadwa were killed at their home in Crown North, Johannesburg, on October 5 last year, and that it was in fact Riaz who shot and killed his parents.

The state alleges that at about 11pm Riaz, a firearms instructor who holds a black belt in karate, went to his parents' bedroom where he fired six shots at his father as he lay in bed. He then followed his mother to the bathroom where he fired two shots at her, one hitting her in the face.

Riaz allegedly told police later that an intruder killed his parents during a robbery.

His sister and his wife are charged with being accessories to the crime and defeating the ends of justice.

They allegedly corroborated Riaz's story that an intruder killed Kadwa and his wife.

When the trial began different versions of what led to the killings were heard in court.

First it was suggested that Kadwa killed his own wife and, in revenge, Riaz shot and killed him.

The state has called several witnesses whose evidence suggests that there was, in fact, no intruder.

Another version was that Kadwa's wife, who was ashamed of her troubled marriage, killed her husband before turning the gun on herself.

But her sister, Fadelah Boomgaard, dismissed this as improbable. She told the court that her sister was terrified of guns and could not use one.

However, this is the version the accused are using in their defence.

In an affidavit signed in September last year, Riaz alleges that his parents had been having "tremendous difficulties in their marriage for six to seven years". He he also stated that his mother suspected his father was having an affair.

He says he first became aware of problems in his parents' marriage in 1999.

"I was in my room one day when my father came into my room. He was crying. He said 'it is over between your mother and me'. He said he was leaving. I begged him to stay," Riaz wrote in his affidavit.

He said from then on he could see that there was no "normal husband-wife relationship" between his parents.

He said his parents' failed marriage, a looming divorce, an affair, his father's murder and his mother's suicide - all "a shame and embarrassment" in the Muslim community, led him to tell a lie that an intruder killed his parents during a botched robbery.

Defence advocate Mike Hellens has hinted that he will bring an application for the accused to be discharged once the state closes its case this week.