Thandi Maqubela should be sentenced to 20 years in prison for the death of her acting judge husband Patrick in 2009, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.
“We are of the view that an act of this nature needs to be dealt with as harshly as possible,” said Patrick Maqubela’s son Duma, who was called to testify as a State witness in aggravation of sentence.
“I would think that 20 years… the family would think there is a semblance of justice to that.”
He said one family member had wished the death penalty was an option.
Prosecutor Bonnie Currie-Gamwo had asked how he felt about social worker Arina Smit’s suggestion that Maqubela get a wholly suspended sentence or periodical imprisonment.
Smit, a defence witness, had recommended this in a 50-page report she compiled after looking at relevant documents and interviewing Thandi Maqubela and relatives.
Duma Maqubela said it would be highly insensitive of the court to take Thandi Maqubela’s personal circumstances into account and not that of the family or society.
“Periodic incarceration is something that would baffle society and send the wrong message,” he said.
Duma Maqubela and his dead brother were born of a marriage between Patrick Maqubela and his mother between 1977 and 1979.
They divorced around 1982 because of infidelity on his part, and Thandi and Patrick Maqubela later married.
Last November, the same court found Maqubela guilty of killing her husband in June 2009, despite not having conclusive medical evidence pinpointing a cause of death.
She was found guilty of forging her husband’s will and committing fraud by causing potential prejudice to his estate.
Duma Maqubela said the death had been tough for the family, and made worse by the unnecessary complications around his estate.
He had taken up commitments made by his father to family members, and travelled from the Eastern Cape to other cities to deal with estate issues at great expense.
The court heard about Patrick Maqubela’s rise to the Western Cape High Court bench, after serving jail time for high treason as a member of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe in the 1980s.
“He was very happy about his appointment [to the Bench], my lord. In his eyes he had reached the pinnacle in his law career and that is actually what he had wanted to do further and spend his last years doing,” Duma Maqubela said.
“To us, we remember him as a hero.”
He earlier sought to correct Smit’s testimony that his step-mother selflessly dedicated her time to the family and society.
Duma Maqubela said it simply did not make sense that she would have decided to build a better house for her husband’s mother in the Eastern Cape, if she died in 1995 and the house referred to was built only in 2005.
He said his father had bought raw materials, drew up the building plans and executed the construction.
Thomas Tyler, for Thandi Maqubela, said his client certainly did her bit, He handed up a photograph of a smartly-dressed Maqubela with a wheelbarrow of cement at a building site.
After looking at the photo, Duma Maqubela said: “A picture tells a thousand words. What I see is a wheelbarrow which has got its stand on the ground, its wheels on the ground. I certainly see no pushing.”
The court erupted in laughter.
Tyler said Patrick Maqubela’s mother had been fond of Thandi. Duma said he could not dispute this. He was dismissed from the stand.
Sentencing proceedings will resume on Monday morning with Smit’s cross-examination. SAPA