Wife’s ‘hit­men’ die be­fore trial

She is ac­cused of plot­ting to have her ex-hus­band killed

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By SHAIN GERMANER

● Spooked hit­men, dead state wit­nesses and a litany of co­in­ci­dences form the lurid back­drop to a case of a Pre­to­ria woman ac­cused of hir­ing hit­men to kill her ex-hus­band.

Eu­lenda Mam­pana, a for­mer HIV co-or­di­na­tor at the de­part­ment of health, is ac­cused of or­der­ing a R150,000 hit on Robert Mam­pana, the head of hu­man re­sources at the NPA.

Eu­lenda’s ear­lier brushes with the law — in­clud­ing con­vic­tions for shoplift­ing items such as meat packs and peanuts — were also de­tailed in court pa­pers.

But the crim­i­nal case against her could be ham­pered by the ab­sence of three key in­gre­di­ents — one of the al­leged hit­men who turned state wit­ness was found mur­dered, an­other is dead and a third is miss­ing.

Dur­ing her pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ance in the Pre­to­ria North mag­is­trate’s court, de­tec­tive con­sta­ble Evans Mongwe sub­mit­ted an af­fi­davit sug­gest­ing the men were al­legedly ap­proached in April 2018 with an of­fer of R150,000 to get rid of Eu­lenda’s ex-hus­band. How­ever, the Sun­day Times has learnt that prior to this, Robert had al­ready fallen vic­tim to a se­ries of po­ten­tially deadly in­ci­dents since the Mam­panas’ di­vorce was fi­nalised in 2016.

An at­tempted hi­jack­ing in Mamelodi in 2016 was fol­lowed by a suc­cess­ful hi­jack­ing at gun­point in the same area a few months later, a source close to the fam­ily said.

The fol­low­ing year Robert was shot in the leg in a drive-by shoot­ing. He was re­turn­ing home from work when three men in an­other ve­hi­cle fired shots at him, and it was only af­ter res­i­dents of nearby houses came to his aid that the at­tack­ers sped off, the source added.

Mamelodi po­lice spokesper­son Capt Michael Mbewe con­firmed a case re­lated to the shoot­ing at Robert’s home had been opened on June 20 2017, but said no ar­rests had been made.

Ac­cord­ing to Mongwe’s state­ment, the three men ap­proached in April were seem­ingly un­will­ing to mur­der some­one with links to the NPA, and ul­ti­mately in­formed Robert of his ex-wife’s plot.

Eu­lenda was ar­rested last year and ap­peared at the Pre­to­ria North court on May 23. In her bail af­fi­davit, the 36-year-old ar­gued that if she re­mained in cus­tody, her three chil­dren with Robert would be prej­u­diced.

“My chil­dren are all in school and I am the one who cares for them. Be­cause of my strong fam­ily ties, I sub­mit that it is highly im­prob­a­ble that I will flee my trial.”

She also de­clared mul­ti­ple prior con­vic­tions for theft and shoplift­ing be­tween 1999 and 2018. A se­ries of an­nex­ures linked to the bail ap­pli­ca­tion show that Eu­lenda had

One of the al­leged hit­men was found mur­dered near Soshanguve hos­tel two weeks ago. An­other man who was also pos­si­bly linked as a hitman also died

Lun­gelo Dlamini

Gaut­eng provin­cial po­lice spokesper­son

stolen from mul­ti­ple stores in Pre­to­ria North, in­clud­ing Pick n Pay, Check­ers, Pep and Rage. In these in­ci­dents, she was listed as hav­ing stolen pork packs, lamb packs, soap, tooth­paste, a packet of peanuts, men’s sneak­ers, men’s boots and men’s san­dals, among other items that in to­tal were worth only a few thou­sand rand.

An ad­mis­sion of guilt fine was paid. Eu­lenda aban­doned her bail ap­pli­ca­tion late last year, and re­mains in cus­tody at Kgosi Mam­puru II Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre in Pre­to­ria.

Her crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings are set down to con­tinue later this month and the trial will likely be trans­ferred to the high court.

One of the al­leged hit­men “was found mur­dered near Soshanguve hos­tel two weeks ago”, said Gaut­eng po­lice spokesper­son Lt Col Lun­gelo Dlamini. “He was fa­tally shot. An­other man who was also pos­si­bly linked as a hitman also died, but de­tails sur­round­ing his death are not avail­able. The third man has not been lo­cated.”

Stephen Tu­son, ad­junct pro­fes­sor at the Wits Law Clinic, said that key wit­nesses go­ing miss­ing could be the death knell for a case, be­cause even if they sub­mit­ted af­fi­davits im­pli­cat­ing the ac­cused, they may not be ac­cepted.

With­out the men able to tes­tify or be cross-ex­am­ined, the ev­i­dence can’t be tested, mean­ing it would be sig­nif­i­cantly weaker in the eyes of the court.

Mean­while, a source linked to the de­fence team has told the Sun­day Times the al­leged hit­men had been used as part of a sting op­er­a­tion to gather ev­i­dence on Eu­lenda. Her de­fence ad­vo­cate could ar­gue this was en­trap­ment and try to have the case thrown out on this fac­tor alone.

Robert de­clined to com­ment, other than con­firm­ing he and his wife di­vorced in 2016.

Pic­ture: Face­book

Eu­lenda Mam­pana, ac­cused of plot­ting to have her ex killed.

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