Pretoria - A KwaMhlanga man was found guilty of stabbing a Pretoria woman to death and strangling her two young children, in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.
Sipho Masiqa, 36, was convicted of the July 2010 murders of Thifhelimibilu Mashau, her eight-month-old baby Avheani and four-year old daughter Adivhao.
He was also found guilty on charges of kidnapping and indecently assaulting Mashau and robbing her of her car and other goods.
Masiqa's friend, Raymond Matshaba, 29, was convicted as an accessory after the fact to the three murders and the robbery.
He had dismantled and burnt Mashau's car to destroy fingerprints after reading about the murders in a newspaper.
Taxi operator Bradley Molefe, 36, walked out of court a free man after being acquitted on all charges.
Judge Bert Bam said though there was a strong suspicion that he had been involved in the crimes, there was not enough evidence to convict him.
Bam found that Masiqa had strangled both children in their Theresa Park home - probably after Mashau had let him into the house.
One daughter was found on her mother's bed with her face covered.
The other was found face down in a bath half-filled with water. Her face had also been covered.
The judge found that Masiqa had robbed Mashau of her car and other goods, kidnapped her and took her to Ga-Rankuwa where he indecently assaulted her, stabbed her in the chest and strangled her.
Her half-naked body was discovered two days later, dumped in the veld.
Bam rejected Masiqa's evidence that Mashau and a mysterious man called Peter had paid him R10 000 in cash to stage a robbery at her house so that she could claim insurance money.
He also rejected claims Masiqa made to a policeman that Mashau had strangled her children and then asked him to kill her.
Bam said it was clear that “Peter” never existed and that Masiqa had chosen to tell lies to the court.
Bam said he strongly believed that Masiqa had not acted alone that night.
It seemed improbable that someone would be prepared to pay R10 000 in cash for a staged robbery, he said.
Bam said cellphone records proved there had probably been some sort of a relationship or deal between Masiqa and Mashau before the incident.
There was a reasonable possibility that she had allowed Masiqa to enter her house and that he did not break in.
Bam, however, dismissed Masiqa's claims of a staged robbery and that Mashau had killed her own children.
“The overall image of her whole household creates the impression of being above average,” he said.
“Both children were nicely dressed and seem to have been properly cared for.”
The judge said the fact that Mashau was dressed in her nightclothes, had an appointment with a friend the next day, and had phoned her house helper that night made it improbable that she had a motive to kill her own children.
“I find it improbable that Mashau had asked the accused (Masiqa) to kill her, if she intended to end her and her children's lives.
“He chose to blatantly lie to the court and it is impossible to accept any of his evidence.
He said it was “absolutely improbable” that after he had left Mashau, someone else could have entered the house and killed the children.
Sentencing would taken place on February 7. - Sapa