The conviction and life sentences imposed on an East Rand woman and her best friend for plotting her husband's murder were confirmed on Friday by three judges of the High Court in Pretoria.
They dismissed the appeal by Tinky Sophie Mojapelo, 40, and her friend Antoinette Nkhensani Masuku, 38, against their conviction on a charge of murdering Mojapelo's husband Albert, 47, in September 2005.
The judges also dismissed the women's appeal against their life sentences, despite the fact that both were first offenders and had children.
Albert Mojapelo was kidnapped with the help of his driver Zakele Malwane and was taken to a deserted spot near Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, where he was shot in the head and neck.
His body was found lying next to his 4x4 vehicle. Nothing had been taken.
Malwane, who turned State's witness, testified that Tinky Mojapelo and Masuku had plotted the murder with a Mozambican, Orlando Mandoza, who later fled while out on bail.
According to Malwane, the women paid Mandoza, who kidnapped and shot the Albert with the help of three other armed men.
When Malwane later phoned Tinky to tell her the job had been done, she told him to relax, go home and not tell anyone what had happened.
Albert's sister testified that Tinky had apologised to her while she was in jail, telling her she did not know what had got into her and that “Satan had power”.
Neither of the women testified in their trial.
In 2009, Judge Kathy Satchwell sentenced them in the Vereeniging Circuit Court to life imprisonment.
They appealed, claiming she had been biased against them to such an extent that they did not have a fair trial and that she should have recused herself.
They also said Satchwell should have rejected Malwane's evidence, especially in the light of her finding that Malwane had been a willing accomplice to the murder.
The appeal judges found that Satchwell had not been biased, but had gone to great lengths to ensure the women had a fair trial.
There was also ample evidence for her ruling on their guilt and no reason to interfere with the sentence. - Sapa