Victim’s mom ’happy’ pastor, his wife and cousin found guilty of R3m insurance payout murder
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Cape Town – The 25-year-old Hlompho Mohapi’s body was found by a fisherman on a gravel road near Herold’s Bay outside George. She had seven stab wounds to her chest and her throat was slit.
No one would have believed in July 2018 that a pastor would be implicated in what turned out to be a murder driven by a multimillion-rand insurance payout.
Before Thembalethu resident Mohapi was killed, two life insurance policies – one worth R3 million and the other worth R200 000, as well as a funeral policy worth R50 000 – were taken out on her life.
Posing as potential employers for a job at George Airport that never existed, Mohapi was asked to do blood tests, deemed a prerequisite for the R3 million life insurance policy. Mohapi was subsequently murdered and her body dumped on the Voëlklip beach road near Herold's Bay.
In the Circuit High Court, sitting in George, on Thursday, Judge Taswell Papier found 33-year-old pastor Melisiswe Monqo, his 26-year-old wife, Siphoshile Pamba, and his 31-year-old cousin, Phumlani Quesheka, guilty of murder, including, among others, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating or obstructing justice.
National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said sentencing proceedings would take place on November 15.
At the beginning of the trial last year, Monqo pleaded guilty to 15 of the 29 charges against him. Pamba pleaded not guilty to all the charges, while Monqo pleaded guilty to two counts of insurance fraud and one of the contravention of an interim protection order, but not to the other charges.
Blood stains found in Monqo’s rented vehicle and on Qusheka's clothes were Mohapi’s blood.
On July 7, 2018, Qusheka was arrested in Knysna with Mohapi’s cellphone in his possession. On July 16, 2018, the pastor was arrested in Thembalethu, while Pamba was arrested four days later.
Patricia Koloi, the victim's mother, told the SABC after the trio were found guilty: “It's a long journey but today I'm happy. I'm excited because I have the whole of George supporting me, feeling the pain I felt. I'm just so very happy.”
Two more potential victims, on whom life insurance policies were also taken out without their knowledge, were identified during the Mohapi murder investigation.