He raped me, beat me... but I did not kill him
4 shots through the body
Murder accused opens heart to court, detailing two tough marriages to the victim, a former chief of staff and senior local ANC official
The Ndudulas’ marriage had deteriorated to such an extent that Bulelwa Ndudula had her husband, Sakhekile – now dead at 52 after four bullets were pumped into his body in September 2016 – up in court for rape.
Judge Igna Stretch presided over this new information on Friday, only hours after Bulelwa Ndudula, 46, had told Stretch her marriage to her ANC politician husband Sakhekile had been solid.
Ndudula’s second day in the witness box was mostly spent doling out stories about how seriously problematic their marriages were, though she tried to portray their second marriage to each other – after a divorce – as being for the better.
They had come together in in October 2011, a few days after their six-year old, last-born child had drowned in a bathtub on September 30 2011. In a bizarre exchange, Ndudula told the court that her husband was once “convicted” for raping her in 2007 – the year they separated and later divorced.
Ndudula said so terrible was the experience that she obtained a protection order against her husband before later divorcing him in 2009, because “he constantly assaulted me and abused me by all means”.
Looking mostly calm – and at times jovial – in the dock, Ndudula became emotional as she poured her heart out. She trembled, saying: “The mere fact that we ended up divorcing shows that there were serious problems in our marriage at the time”.
She said the couple were first married in 1996, and blessed with three children, but separated in 2007 after she had obtained the protection order and opened a rape charge against her late husband.
Her testimony follows earlier evidence from Sakhekile’s mother Lulama Ndudula, from Tsomo, that that her son had spent three days in jail after he was arrested and accused of rape in 2007.
Ndudula told court that her husband was convicted for the 2007 rape, “but he was never sentenced because the magistrate asked me whether I want him to go to jail and I said ‘no’ because I had forgiven him at the time”.
Stretch interjected, asking if the rape charge made it to court. Ndudula replied: “We did attend trial for that rape case. In court it was only the two of us, and there was no public gallery. He was then found guilty but I told court that I had forgiven him and that he should not be sent to jail”.
This was shot down by state advocate Sakhumzi Mtsila who told court that the rape charges were withdrawn against the husband because the state had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Ndudula said they remarried in June 2012, and that the marriage went well, until her husband died in a hail of bullets in September 2016.
She said: “When he returned to our home in 2011, he also visited my family and apologised about everything he had done to me, including the rape incident. He told my family that his family was against us getting back together, while his mother once said someone will die if we get back together”.
In her earlier evidence, Sakhekile’s mother also said her son had decided to go back to his matrimonial home after his last-born child died.
Her view, based on what Sakhekile had told her, was that he remarried because he no longer wanted his children to grow up without him. Ndudula denied this, however.
She said the relationship was stable during the second marriage. “[We would] fight today, but forgive each other and be fine the following day.”
On Thursday, she portrayed her husband as
We did attend trial for that rape case. In court it was only the two of us
violent, telling the court he “one day said he’ll blow my brains out”.
However on Friday she said: “He did not literally mean what he was saying at the time, just like I did not mean it when I said if he were to die I would spit in his coffin. You can check, no one will ever testify that I did spit on his coffin when he was buried.”
Mtsila later put it to her that even though they had remarried, “tensions from the first marriage were not over”, and she agreed.
“As much as you want us to believe that all was good and there were just ordinary problems in your marriage, his threats to scatter your brains and the messages about spitting on his coffin, tells a different story.
“It shows that there were still huge and serious problems,” charged Mtsila, with Ndudula replying, “I don't agree with you”.
Ndudula told court her husband had received threats from his ANC comrades, and that he was assassinated by unknown gunman who stormed their home.
Under cross-examination, Mtsila put it to her that if it was an assassination, she would have been killed at the same time.
The case was adjourned to September 3. –
COURT BATTLES: Senior Prosecutor Advocate Sakhumzi Mtsila, left, leaves the East London High Court with Sakhekile Ndudula's family behind him, and right, Bulelwa Ndudula takes the stand in court