He raped me, beat me... but I did not kill him

4 shots through the body

Daily Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA NINI SE­NIOR RE­PORTER asan­dan@dis­patch.co.za Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Siya Tsewu

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. –

Pic­tures: RAN­DELL ROSKRUGE and SIBONGILE NGALWA

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

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