Murder accused couple who switched body to remain behind bars

Lerato and Sibusiso Mahlangu allegedly killed former lover

Noxolo Sibiya Journalist
Lerato Mahlangu and her husband Sibusiso Mahlangu appeared at the Soshanguve Magistrate Court on charges of murdering Sibusiso Sithebe, fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Lerato Mahlangu and her husband Sibusiso Mahlangu appeared at the Soshanguve Magistrate Court on charges of murdering Sibusiso Sithebe, fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Image: Thulani Mbele

A couple accused of an elaborate murder plot to fake the husband’s death will remain behind bars following their appearance at the Soshanguve magistrate’s court on Thursday morning.

Lerato and Sibusiso Mahlangu face charges of premeditated murder, fraud and defeating the administration of justice.

They are accused of killing a man believed to be Lerato’s ex-lover and father to her nine-year-old daughter – Sibusiso Sithebe.

Before court started, Lerato, who appeared timid in a pink sweater, told Sowetan that she was feeling nervous and scared as a packed gallery of community members were yelling slurs.

Her husband told Sowetan from the dock that he had not done anything wrong and that he did not make any confession to the police.

The case was postponed to May 18 after the two, through their legal aid representative, requested to appoint a private attorney to facilitate their bail application.

During proceedings, prosecutor Katlego Matsena told the court that the murder charge had since been altered to premeditated murder.

Count one of murder is alleged to be premeditated,” Matsena said.

According to the state, the pair planned the 2022 death of Sithebe, a man believed to be Lerato’s ex-lover. A plot they allegedly carried out during a fire at their RDP home on January 6.

On January 6, Mahlangu’s death was registered at home affairs, but at his funeral Sithebe’s body was instead buried.

It is also alleged that Lerato claimed from her husband’s policies while he was in fact alive.

The pair remain in police custody and are expected to apply for bail in their next appearance.

Outside court, members of the community protested, calling for justice to be served.

Members of the community questioned how the Mahlangu family buried a body that was not theirs without noticing it.

Even the police, do they not take fingerprints of the deceased? How did the mortuary not see that the picture they were using on display on the day of the funeral did not match the corpse they held? yelled one member of the community.

sibiyan@sowetan.co.za

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