Sex, addiction and money: Slain judge’s widow back in the dock

Because of his extra-marital relationships, Thandi Maqubela, widow of slain acting judge Patrick Maqubela, told Justice Minister Jeff Radebe that she believed her husband “was addicted to sex”, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Radebe told the court: “She indicated that her husband was a sex addict … I asked how she had got this information, but she would not disclose it to me, and I noted that she was getting very angry.”

The widow is on trial for the murder of her husband, and is also charged with forging his will and fraudulently presenting it to the South Gauteng office of the Master of the High Court.

The Maqubela and co-accused Vela Mabena were charged with the judge’s murder, and have pleaded not guilty.

The widow has also pleaded not guilty to charges of forgery and fraud.

An erudite Radebe told the court that the widow had arranged a meeting in his office in Cape Town, “to discuss sensitive stuff”, which turned out to be her determination to go public about the judge’s affairs.

The meeting happened on June 4 2009, and the state alleges that the judge was murdered the next day.

The widow was aware at the time of the meeting that her husband was keen to secure a permanent appointment, Radebe said.

He said the widow’s purpose in informing him of her husband’s affairs was to make the minister of justice aware of the “kind of man he was”.

Senior state advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo asked Radebe what his impression was of his meeting with the judge’s wife.

He replied: “I felt this was a woman very angry about the behaviour of her husband, and that she wanted to destroy his reputation in the public domain … She said she would use her information so that the public know what people like the deceased do … She would have done this by way of letters to the print media, radio interviews and talk shows.”

Radebe said the meeting left him feeling “very concerned”, because the judge was both a friend, a comrade and an acting judge.

This would reflect badly on the judiciary, he said.

Radebe said he realised that the wife was serious about her plans, had made up her mind and was determined.

At the meeting, she had mentioned divorce, but said she did not believe in it because she was a member of the Jehovah’s Witness movement who believed that marriage vows meant the couple were to remain together “until death do us part”.

During the meeting, he thought of the expression “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, he said.

Asked if the widow had wanted to reconcile with her husband, Radebe answered: “Not at all.”

Radebe said he called the judge immediately after the meeting.

He added: “She requested me to call him but I would have done so anyway to inform him of the allegations, and that his wife intended going public about it.”

Radebe said he was aware that the judge was at that stage lobbying for a permanent appointment, and his impression was that his wife was trying to influence him, as minister of justice, against such an appointment.

The hearing continues. — Sapa

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