Murder accused upset judge

Ntwaagae Seleka

Ntwaagae Seleka

A high court judge was angered by a mining executive's widow and her friend at their fifth appearance in the Vereeniging circuit court on Friday when they made yet another appearance without a lawyer.

Judge Kathy Satchwell told Tinky Sophie Mojapelo, 38, and Antoinette Mkhensani Masuku, 36, that they had failed on five consecutive days to bring their attorney, Danie Koen, to represent them during their trial.

The two, with fugitive Orlando Mandoza, 32, who disappeared during an adjournment last Monday, are facing charges of murder, conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

A warrant of arrest has been issued for Mandoza.

Satchwell said: "You have known since June 11 last year that your trial would start this week.

"For five days the man who claimed to be your attorney has not come to court."

The two women told the court that Koen could not be in court for the whole week because he was busy with another matter at a court in Germiston.

"The court recommended that you apply for the legal aid representation but and you rejected the advice," the judge said. "So now the legal aid board can't help you."

She said the legal aid board could not help Mojapelo and Mkhensani anyway because they had enough money to afford a private attorney.

Mojapelo, Masuku and alleged hitman Mandoza, a Mozambican national, are accused of murdering Mojapelo's husband Albert Mojapelo, 47, a day before he was to receive a retirement package of more than R1 million in 2005.

The case continues today and the women's bail of R5000 each was extended.