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Judge upholds Pitch Black Afro's original confession to killing his wife

Thulani Ngcobo, better known as music star Pitch Black Afro appears in court
Thulani Ngcobo, Pitch Black Afro Thulani Ngcobo, better known as music star Pitch Black Afro appears in court
Image: Veli Nhlapo/Sowetan

The judge presiding in the murder case of Pitch Black Afro, real name Thulani Ngcobo, has ruled to uphold the rapper's original statement in which he confessed to murdering his wife. The statement will therefore be admissible as evidence in his trial.

Ngcobo said in his statement last year that he hit his wife Catherine Modisane and pushed her onto a wall. He has since made a 180 degree turn and said he was assaulted and threatened into making that statement by a group of police officers from Yeoville police station. This turn of events led to the trial having a trial within a trial, to establish whether Ngcobo's earlier confession is admissible.

The rapper who took the stand on Friday in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg said the police also threatened to tear his insurance papers that would allow him to bury his wife if he did not confess.

“I was afraid of saying anything wrong to make them tear up my Samro pages. Trisha (Modisane) had already been in the mortuary for too long and according to my traditions, a person does not stay in the fridge for a long time,” said Ngcobo. Samro is the Southern African Music Rights Organisation, the body which administrate peformance rights of member artists by all users of the music, the process which lead to the payment of royalties to artists.

Ngcobo added: “The due date for signing the papers was on the same day.”

He said on the day he made the confession he was also not in a good mental state.

"I loved my wife with all of my heart…my thinking process was not okay. I had a heavy heart because I was not going to be able to go to the funeral or the memorial. I was not going to pay my last respects to my wife."

He said when he was being interrogated on the day he was to make his first appearance at the Johannesburg magistrate's court he was in a room with five police officers who threatened him to confess to the murder. Ngcobo admitted to the court that he did not see the police officer that physically assaulted him by stepping on his handcuffed hands, but Sergeant Lufhuno Sono and Captain Mbhazima Pila were in the room with him when it occurred.

Ngcobo said after he made the confession to the magistrate, he was given back his insurance papers and this led him to pleading not guilty because the alleged threat was gone.

The two police officers have since denied in court to assaulting and threatening Ngcobo in any form.

Prosecutor Matshiliso Moleko who cross examined Ngcobo said it was impossible for the police to tell Ngcobo what to say in his statement because the details of her injuries where not known by them yet but only by Ngcobo.

“The postmortem came out on the 12th of January and you say you were threatened on the 10th of January. How did the police know she was assaulted,” Moleko asked Ngcobo.

“Hence I put it to you that you are the author of that statement. I put it to you that from the beginning you wanted to tell the story. No one forced you or told you what to say,” she said.

Moleko told the court that his confession was supported by the doctor’s examination of the deceased, that she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Judge Du Plessis said he will give his reasons on finding the original statement admissible to be used in trial as evidence on Wednesday.

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