Durban - A 56-year-old Umbilo woman shot her husband twice after they got into a argument over a meal she was meant to prepare.
Zaheera Bunting, who said she was ill and unable to cook, was found guilty of attempting to murder her 36-year-old husband, Brent Smit, on Friday.
She is due to appear before Magistrate Anand Maharaj at the Durban Regional Court for sentencing tomorrow.
“I’m very pleased with the judgment, I could have been killed,” Smit said of his gun-toting wife.
The couple have been married for 19 years, but neighbours said their relationship had been tumultuous throughout, and their spats were usually hot topics of gossip at the block of flats where they lived.
Bunting got into trouble with the law, apparently not her first time, after yet another squabble with her husband turned vicious.
She drew her .38 special revolver and fired three bullets at Smit, who was exiting her Melbourne Court flat.
Bunting missed with her first shot, but Smit was felled by the bullets that followed.
After extensive hospital treatment, Smit bears no discernable signs of being shot in the back and leg.
Bunting previously testified that she shot Smit in self defence. She said the incident on July 4 was sparked by an argument over food.
She said an enraged Smit forcibly yanked the braids from her head and dunked her head into a bucket of water before kneeing her in the face.
Bunting said she then went into her bedroom to retrieve her cellphone from her handbag to call the police, but ended up picking up her gun instead.
She said she wasn’t wearing her glasses and fired three shots in the general direction of a silhouette in her doorway.
Smit refuted Bunting’s version during his testimony. He said his wife swore and pushed him, and he responded by slapping her twice. Smit said he was leaving the flat with a bag containing clothing when Bunting shot him.
Maharaj called Ricardo Singrum, a former resident of Melbourne Court who witnessed the incident, to testify on Friday.
Singrum confirmed Bunting’s version of the beating and said when he tried to intervene Smit swore at him. He also told of how Bunting moved closer towards Smit after missing him with her first shot.
In her closing argument, State prosecutor Kuveshni Pillay reiterated that Bunting was not acting in self defence, and this was corroborated by Singrum’s testimony.
Bunting’s attorney Thobile Sigcau countered by saying the State had not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, and his client should be acquitted.
In handing down judgment Maharaj deemed Singrum to be a credible witness. Maharaj said he had difficulty in accepting Bunting’s self defence claim.
“The situation changed when she got hold of the gun and decided to shoot.”
Of the shooting, Maharaj said it was indiscriminate and Bunting was not worried that Smit could have been killed.
“The State proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused is guilty as charged,” Maharaj said.
According to another resident of Melbourne Court, who preferred not to be named, the accused insisted that the charge against her wouldn’t stick.
“She (Bunting) openly told people in this building she would be acquitted as there was no case against her,” the resident said.
The couple had a “love-hate” relationship and were well known for their many “bust-ups” over the years.
“It’s not nice for a woman to be beaten up but she should never have shot at him.
“She is a vicious person, not many people are friendly with her.
“It’s not the first time she shot at Brent (Smit). In 1999 she also shot but missed,” the source alleged.
When asked to comment on the judgment, Bunting said: “It’s totally unfair.
“We had been separated at the time. I only took him because he got into a fight and was left badly beaten.
“I nursed him back to health. I should have never helped him.”