Sindisiwe Manqele on the stand in the Randburg Magistrates Court. File photo: Nokuthula Mbatha
Sindisiwe Manqele on the stand in the Randburg Magistrates Court. File photo: Nokuthula Mbatha
Nkululeko Flabba Habedi, who was stabbed to death in his home in Alexandra in March this year.
Nkululeko Flabba Habedi, who was stabbed to death in his home in Alexandra in March this year.

Johannesburg - Sindisiwe Manqele's lawyer made use of a bizarre comparison, in an attempt to dispel the State’s claim that her version of events was improbable, in the high court sitting in Randburg on Monday.

Manqele is accused of stabbing her rapper boyfriend Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi to death in March.

Lawyer Norman Makhubela compared the State’s understanding of Manqele’s testimony to part of a show he had watched on National Geographic the previous night.

“There was a buffalo tossing a lion into the sky and (when it fell) it stood up and then ran off. If I was not watching it and seeing it myself on TV, I would not have believed it,” he told the court during closing arguments on Monday.

“She’s anxious, fear stricken, there’s an adrenalin rush, and I submit there’s nothing improbable (about her evidence).”

Habedi died after he was stabbed at his home in Alexandra in the early hours of March 9, after the couple had been to a Sandton night club.

State prosecutor Paul Schutter argued Manqele’s version of what happened was “bizarre and outrageous”.

“It is submitted that the accused is contradicting herself as to what transpired. There’s an inordinate number of improbabilities. Her version that she acted in private defence doesn’t hold water and should be rejected beyond reasonable doubt,” said Schutter.

“It is submitted that at least she must’ve foreseen the possibility that stabbing the deceased in the chest with a steak knife in close proximity to the heart that the deceased’s death could follow.”

But Makhubela criticised the State’s attempt to portray Manqele as “that drunken woman who staggered out of the club that evening because of some jealousy of sorts”.

He said: “His lordship cannot ignore the indication of bias of trying to put the accused in a poor light.”

Makhubela dismissed the evidence of State witnesses Nkululeko Chauke and his girlfriend Masego Tsele, who were at the night club.

“The version of the accused is more sound and probable than the contradictory evidence of the two witnesses who were supposed to have seen everything. There would be no proper reason for his lordship to prefer the word of the two witnesses over that of the accused.”

He disputed the State’s claim Manqele’s evidence was contradictory and improbable and urged the court to take her version into account with all its “pimples and warts”.

“We do not purport that she’s given you a perfect account for the happening on the evening and for obvious reasons, and to expect her to be pedantic and precise about the sequence of events would be expecting her to lie and she does not purport to do that.”

Makhubela insisted his client had been tortured and had no choice but to defend herself. “She seems to have been subjected to some brutal, systematic and almost sadistic torture by the deceased. If the court accepted the version of the accused that she acted in self-defence, had she not done so, in all likelihood it would probably have been a different person in a body bag,” he said.

Judgment will be handed down next month.

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The Star

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