Tutu domestic’s alleged killer appears

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Independent Newspapers

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

The gardener of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's daughter appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday in connection with her domestic worker's death.

Olwethu Mathiso, 21, wearing a neat, collared shirt and jeans took to the stand for his formal bail application.

He told Magistrate Mandi Tyulu that he should get bail because he needed to look after his mother, a domestic worker.

“I want to help my mother. She is living there in a shack in Du Noon. (I need bail) so I can look after her. It's not safe in those shacks.

“Sometimes they break into people's houses and sometimes there are fires there.”

He said his mother also needed him for financial and health reasons. He often gave her money and bought groceries and electricity. She suffered from high blood pressure and he was responsible for fetching her medication from the doctor. His sister relied on him to pay her tuition fees for a Cape Town college.

Mathiso said he had no previous convictions, no pending cases against him, and no warrants of arrest in his name. He stressed he did not know any of the witnesses in the case. He intended pleading not guilty.

He stands accused of strangling Angela Mscinga, 35. Her body was found in a bedroom of Mpho Tutu's home in Milnerton on April 12. Her cellphone and Tutu's laptop had been taken.

When asked by his lawyer Andre Kirsten what he did for a living, Mathiso said he did piece-meal jobs. He had been a general worker at a factory in Paarden Eiland and worked on boats docked at the Waterfront, earning about R150 a day.

He had been unemployed for the past four months, but his mother could afford R500 bail.

Prosecutor Cecil Engel contended that it was his mother who was supporting him, not the other way around.

Mathiso then revealed he also washed cars for money and, after much grilling by the State, that he had been working as a gardener for Mpho Tutu from November last year to March.

He told the court he had left the job without giving notice as Tutu had told him she was not happy with his work.

“She used to tell me that I'm not doing a good job and that I must stop working during the day, even though I'm not finished,” he said.

Mathise said he used to tend to the garden and was sometimes asked to wash the house's windows. He also fixed cracks in the dining room wall and changed lightbulbs.

The bail hearing is continuing. – Sapa


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