A woman who was allegedly killed by her aunt, police constable Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu, had allegedly sustained suspicious injuries and reported to hospital two days before she was found dead.
In the high court sitting in Palm Ridge on Monday, Dr Ipeleng Nku of the Tembisa Hospital said she examined Zanele Motha on June 14, 2016. She had sustained two abrasions on the face. X-rays taken at the time showed she had no further injuries.
Motha had turned up at the hospital allegedly after being knocked down by a bicycle.
Two days later, the young woman was found in the street, brutally beaten and barely alive. She later died at a hospital in Kempton Park. A post-mortem was conducted on her on June 17, 2016.
The court heard the post-mortem revealed she had sustained terrible injuries, including four broken ribs and damage to her liver.
Ndlovu – a former police officer who was based at the Thembisa south police station – is alleged to have had a hand in her murder — all in the hope of cashing in on insurance policies she had taken out in her name.
Motha is just one of several relatives Ndlovu is alleged to have insured and later killed in a bid to cash in on the insurance payouts. She is also accused of killing her sister, her cousin, nephew and lover, and attempting to kill her nieces and nephews, her sister and even her mother.
Ndlovu signalled it was possible that Motha had already suffered terrible injuries when Nku discharged her two days before her death.
Facing questions by prosecutor Riana de Villiers, Nku insisted that she would not have missed such severe injuries.
“The patient would have been in pain and distressed … I would have referred them for further treatment,” Nku said.
But through her lawyer, Ndlovu said Motha was in a bad condition when she was discharged and was unable to walk.
“That is not what I noted in my findings,” Nku replied.
Ndlovu is yet to take the stand or provide an explanation about how Motha died brutally while visiting her. This was several months after she had taken out an insurance policy in her name which allegedly saw her paid out more than R100,000.
Ndlovu is alleged to have pocketed the cash and not assisted in burying Motha.
As the trial continued on Monday, the state continued to call expert witnesses to testify against Ndlovu.
Warrant officer Wynardt Hendrik Venter took the stand to provide expert cellphone evidence which, among other things, placed Ndlovu at crucial points where some of her victims were murdered.
Analysis of her cellphone records revealed how she had called her nephew Brilliant Mashego several times before he was killed. Readings from cellphone towers showed their phones were in the same area about the time of Mashego’s death.
He died in January 2018 after suffering unexplained head injuries.
The court also heard evidence from insurance company officials who testified about Ndlovu’s policies.
Jo-Anne van der Merwe of Frank Financial Services, which provides insurance for Vodacom, testified how Ndlovu had insured her live-in lover Yingwani Maurice Mabasa and named him as her spouse.
Eight months after the policy was taken out, she lodged a claim.
“She said he left home on October 13 and never came back ,” said Van der Merwe.
The claim was never honoured as Vodacom was informed that a criminal case had been opened.
Ndlovu, through her lawyer, indicated that she never told the company that they were married, but had said they were in a relationship and cohabiting.
But a claim form she submitted, which was filled out in her own handwriting, contradicted her evidence. On the form, she had listed Mabasa as her spouse.
Siyabonga Nqabeni, a fraud analyst from Standard Bank, also took the stand.
He revealed that in a policy opened in 2012, Ndlovu had insured her nephew, Brilliant, but had named him as her son. Mabasa was also insured on the same policy and listed as her spouse.
She was paid out R20,000 for Mabasa’s death and a further R20,000 as it was found he died an unnatural death.
“She got the payout despite not paying because as a spouse, his cover was free,” Nqabeni said.
He said if the claim was indeed fraudulent, they would have essentially lost out on R40,000 and on the premiums she was meant to have paid to insure him.
But, Nqabeni said, Standard Bank had accepted Mabasa as Ndlovu’s common-law spouse as they had stayed together for four years. The bank was of the view that a couple needed to stay together for three months and share responsibilities for their union to be viewed as a common-law marriage.
The case continues on Tuesday.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)