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Suspected black widow, four accomplices back in court in June

The five accused have all been linked to the murder case through cellphone records.

The murder case against Mamokgethe Mashimbi (41), Thandi Margaret Khumalo (38), William Maluleka (32), Nicholas Malope (35) and Jan Chauke (28) has been postponed to June 10.

The five appeared in the High Court of South Africa, sitting in the Ga-Rankuwa magistrate’s court charged with the murder of Thomas Mashimbi, a former police officer and husband to Mamokgethe Mashimbi.

Each faces two counts of conspiracy or incitement to commit murder, housebreaking with intent to kill, murder with aggravating circumstances as well as unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition and Mamokgethe Mashimbi additional fraud and perjury charges.

North West National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the state led the investigating officer through his evidence in chief.

He said the officer gave an account of the evidence he gathered, linking the accused to the murder.

“He is expected to continue giving evidence and put through cross-examination when the matter resumes in June. The state has completed leading its evidence with an expert from the cellphone network provider, demonstrating the link in communication between all accused persons in plotting the murder.”

Mamothame said the defence attorneys have completed cross-examining that witness.

He said police investigation uncovered that in 2018, Mamokgethe Mashimbi approached two individuals, now state witnesses, and incited them to rob her marital home in Lebanon, near Winterveldt.

“The two reported the proposition to the police.”

She then approached Khumalo, who arranged a meeting with the other three accused.

“Reports reveal that meetings were conducted between February 7-24, 2018, to plot the execution of the plan to murder Thomas Mashimbi.”

On February 21, 2018, Mamokgethe Mashimbi allegedly ensured that the gate and kitchen door were not properly closed to facilitate the killers’ entry into the house, Mamothame said.

It is further alleged that on November 10, 2017 Mamokgethe Mashimbi filed a complaint with the police alleging that her husband was abusing her and asked for a protection order.

“The order was granted and Thomas Mashimbi’s firearm was confiscated pending the outcome of an internal police process to ascertain his fitness to possess a firearm.”

The state argues that this was part of the plan to disarm him so he had no means to defend himself when the attack was executed.

Mamothame said it is alleged that on February 21, 2018, Maluleka, Malope, and Chauke entered the house, shot Thomas Mashimbi, then escaped the scene with two cellphones, a TV set, and cash estimated at R20 000.

It is alleged that Mamokgethe Mashimbi and the couple’s two children were in the house the attack but were unharmed.

The five were all arrested between September 18-19, 2019 and will remain in police custody until the matter is concluded.

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