'Who did we bury?' - Court hears testimony in insurance murder trial

Mahlangu, wife on trial for 'insurance' murder

Lerato and Sibusiso Mahlangu appearing in the Pretoria high court, charged with the murder of Sibusiso Sithebe.
Lerato and Sibusiso Mahlangu appearing in the Pretoria high court, charged with the murder of Sibusiso Sithebe.
Image: Antonio Muchave

"Singcwabe bani?" (Who did we bury?)."

This is a question Tshwane woman Elizabeth Mahlangu asked her brother who was thought to have died after burning beyond recognition in a fire at his home in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, in 2022.

Elizabeth wept as she testified in the murder trial against her brother, Sibusiso Mahlangu, and his wife, Lerato, in the Pretoria high court on Monday.

The couple is accused of killing Lerato's ex-boyfriend and father of her daughter, Sibusiso Sithebe, in January 2022, and thereafter claiming that it was Sibusiso Mahlangu who had died.

Elizabeth described to the court her shock and confusion when she saw her brother alive in the police holding cells when all the time everyone thought he was dead.

She had visited him at the Temba police station following his arrested for possession of suspected stolen car in April 2023. 

"When I saw him, I got a feeling, and I don't know how to describe that feeling. I froze. I then kept on asking him, "Singcwabe bani?" (Who did we bury?). 

"I touched him to check if it was really him, if he was really alive. I checked for the tattoos, because I knew he had them. I saw them."

During her testimony, Elizabeth told the court she kept asking her brother at that time who they had they buried as a family, and he kept saying he would explain later on upon his release.

She said they were initially shocked by a call from Lerato when she informed the Mahlangu family that Sibusiso was still alive. This was after Sibusiso's arrest.

"She (Lerato) called my mother [in April last year] and told her that Sibusiso is still alive and that he was arrested in Hammanskraal. She said police were demanding money," Elizabeth said.

The state alleges that Lerato called Sithebe to her Soshanguve home on New Year's Day in 2022. And while Sithebe was  there, she and her husband murdered him.

Afterwards, the couple allegedly burnt Sithebe's body and then Lerato passed it off as belonging to Sibusiso Mahlangu, her husband, and claimed half a million in an insurance payout.

The couple was arrested in April year after Sibisuso was caught driving a suspected stolen car. It was when he was booked into custody that he allegedly told the police officers that he was registered as a dead person.

He and Lerato were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and two counts of fraud.

The trial continues.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.