'somebody up to something'

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Murder accused Mulalo Sivhidzho disappeared for two hours, leaving her mother-in-law stranded in a shopping mall on the night her husband, Avhatakali Netshisaulu was killed.

Sivhidzho , 30, and co-accused Ntambudzeni Matsenene, her husband's childhood friend and business partner, are accused of hiring Arnold Sello and about six other men in 2006 to kill Avhatakali Netshisaulu, 31, the son of City Press editor Mathatha Tsedu.

The deceased's mother Dzudzanani Netshisaulu, 53, said that she and Sivhidzho had a close relationship and Matsenene was like family.

She said her son was killed on the same day that she and his 12-year-old sister had arrived in Johannesburg from Venda after being invited to their new house in Olievenhout Manor.

After a tour around the new house Netshisaulu, Sivhidzho and the young girl went to the Northgate Mall.

"She insisted I go with her even after I had told her I was tired and needed to rest."

At the mall Sivhidzho disappeared while she was looking at clothes and only reappeared two hours later.

During that time her son had phoned and asked why they had not returned home. She explained that they were waiting for Sivhidzho.

"She returned and when I asked her what had happened, she looked down and could not give me an explanation," Netshisaulu said. "When I asked her where the clothes she was supposed to have bought were, she looked down again and said they did not fit her."

Netshisaulu said they arrived back at the house at 8pm. Her son left the house at 8.10pm to meet Matsenene. At 8.20pm he phoned her and asked to speak to Sivhidzho.

"I heard her saying, 'My husband, if that is so, then make a U-turn and come back home'.

"She then hung up the phone and told me that my son had said there were two cars with no number plates cornering him and that he thought he was being hijacked," she said.

Netshisaulu said she asked Sivhidzho if she had asked him where he was. She said no, but called him back to ask.

"I told her that I had a feeling that it was not a hijacking, that somebody was up to something regarding my son."

They found Matsenene's number in Avhatakali's work cellphone.

"Mulalo spoke to him," she said. "All I heard was her asking, 'Whereabout in Honeydew?' before she hung up and told me that Avhatakali had not met up with Matsenene yet."

They called the police at 8.36pm and were advised to call Tracker, who could " not locate the car because it was not moving".

The trial continues.