Cape Town - “He died while we were having sex.”
This is among the shocking contents of a fax sent to Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe, supposedly from Acting Judge Patrick Maqubela’s “call girl”.
But the State believes it wasn’t sent from a prostitute at all. They allege it was from the judge’s wife, Thandi.
She is on trial at the Cape Town Labour Court, along with her co-accused Vela Mabena, for her husband’s alleged murder.
On Monday, the court heard evidence about the fax, which was addressed, and apparently sent, to Judge Hlophe.
Patrick Budeli, a former employee at Easi-com internet café in Sunnyside, Pretoria, testified that the fax had been sent from their shop at 4.15pm on November 6, 2009.
This was several months before Maqubela’s arrest at her Sandton home in March, 2010. She was released on R100 000 bail a few weeks later.
Budeli could not, however, remember who the customer was who had requested the fax be sent.
In the first of the four paragraphs contained in the document, which is typed completely in upper case letters, the writer introduces herself as the judge’s “regular call girl”. “He died while we were having sex. It is as simple as all that,” it read.
The fax said that, “security or no high security” in Patrick Maquebla’s Bantry Bay apartment complex, they had a “way of doing what we wanted” to do.
“Why government [sic] waisting [sic] so much money investigating a ‘sex worker’ judge who is all of a sudden a ‘saint’?” It went on: “As his regular call girl he maintained me. I know about all [sic] his death. I had access to his houses Cape Town, JHB [sic] you name it.”
The fax ended off with a line that was emphasised using a larger type size. “Judge Maqubela murdered, poisoned and all sort of things [sic],” it read.
Judge Maqubela, 60, is alleged to have been suffocated to death on June 5, 2009.
His body was discovered two days later in the main bedroom of his flat, with a sheet covering his body and a bloodied pillow over his face.
The issue of whether he was indeed murdered, however, is under dispute.
Thandi Maqubela has set out to show that her husband died of natural causes.
Budeli was the only State witness to be called to the stand on Monday, prompting Marius Broeksma, for Thandi Maqubela, to “express concern” that for the last few weeks, the trial had been “stopping and starting” and hadn’t been sitting for full court days.
Judge John Murphy, who has been seconded from the Pretoria High Court to hear the trial, acknowledged that Broeksma’s concerns were legitimate.
State advocate Pedro van Wyk explained that most of their witnesses had to be flown to Cape Town.
These arrangements were made by the office of the registrar of the court. However, the registrar had been unable to arrange for more witnesses to be flown in to testify on Monday.
The trial continues today at the Cape Town Labour Court, where it is being held because several of Judge Maqubela’s colleagues on the Bench are expected to be called as witnesses.