Maqubela trial: A pathologist to take the stand

South Africa
Maqubela claims her husband died of natural causes, but the State alleges he was suffocated with cling wrap placed over his face Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - A private pathologist was scheduled to testify in the murder trial of acting Judge Patrick Maqubela's wife in the Western Cape High Court.

Thandi Maqubela is on trial with her business associate, Vela Mabena, for the alleged murder of her husband in his luxury Bantry Bay apartment in June, 2009.

Maqubela claims her husband died of natural causes, but the State alleges he was suffocated with cling wrap placed over his face.

She is also charged with fraud and forgery. Her cross-examination ended on Thursday.

She is alleged to have forged her deceased husband's signature on a fake will, and to have presented it to the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

The Master's Office, a division of the justice department dealing with insolvent and deceased estates, recorded the judge's death as "intestate", meaning that he had died without leaving a last will and testament.

Maqubela told the court earlier that her husband's belongings were packed in cartons at his luxury Bantry Bay apartment, and moved to his Sandton home in Johannesburg.

Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo told the court his estate was worth R20 million. She alleged that the judge in fact died intestate, and that the will presented at the Master's Office was a forgery.

-Sapa

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