Husband, friend appear in court for the murder of wife

Mabulana Pilusa and Zimbabwean Clement Baloyi appear in the Ritavi magistrate's court over Baloyi's wife's murder./Antonio Muchave
Mabulana Pilusa and Zimbabwean Clement Baloyi appear in the Ritavi magistrate's court over Baloyi's wife's murder./Antonio Muchave

A man and his friend appeared in a Limpopo court to face charges of murder after the lifeless body of the man's wife was hauled out of a borehole pit.

Lindiwe Nukeri, 40, was found dead in a deep pit in her home at Babanana village near Tzaneen at the weekend.

Yesterday, residents packed the Ritavi magistrate's court to witness the appearances of Nukeri's husband, Clement Baloyi, and Mabulana Pilusa.

Baloyi, a 36-year-old Zimbabwean, was further charged with contravention of the Immigration Act.

Dressed in a light blue striped T-shirt and chino pants, Baloyi told the court that he did not want the Legal Aid SA lawyer to represent him.

"I will defend myself, I don't want [any] legal aid. I will apply for bail on my own," he said.

When magistrate M Mahlo asked if he would also represent himself in the trial, Baloyi reversed his earlier position and said: "I will use legal aid on bail and trial."

His co-accused Pilusa, 30, who wore a worn-out white short sleeved T-shirt and short pants, told the court that he was not going to apply for bail.

The matter was postponed to December 11 for Baloyi's bail application, as police needed more time to investigate his validity in South Africa.

Pilusa's matter was postponed to January 15 for further investigation.

Outside court, the deceased's neighbour and friend, Virginia Khosa, said Baloyi came to her house on Friday to ask about his wife's whereabouts.

"I told him I didn't see her that day. I became more worried when it was getting late and I had not seen my friend."

Khosa said in the afternoon she confronted Baloyi because of a concern for her friend's children aged five and two.

"He then changed his earlier statement and told me he saw his wife getting into a blue VW Golf and she didn't come back.

"After a few minutes, he repeatedly started scratching his head as if something was biting him. He then stood up and went straight to the pit and opened the lid.

"He began screaming, saying people have killed his wife," she said.

She said she then called the police. Khosa said Nukeri was subjected to constant abuse in the hands of her husband.

"I have lost count of how many times I have offered her shelter when her husband was physically assaulting her.

"On Thursday last week she told me that her husband gave her R800 for groceries but said she was planning to use the money [to] flee her home.

"She said I should remain with her children and take care of them until the time she comes back because she is not feeling safe," Khosa added.

Police spokesman Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the suspect reported to the police that he left his wife alone at their home on Friday but when he returned, she was nowhere to be found.

"The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage but we can't rule out domestic related violence," Ngoepe said.

"We condemn this senseless killing especially during a period the country is focusing on the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children with the sole aim of squeezing all gender based crimes to zero," he said.

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