The bitter standoff between HHP’s common law wife Lerato Sengadi and her in-laws has escalated on the eve of his burial.
Not only does she demand to have his remains handed over to her, but this week she instructed the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) to stop paying any money due to HHP (real name Jabulani Tsambo) to his family.
In an explosive court application submitted on Tuesday at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, Sengadi demands to bury HHP at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg as per his wish, so she says, and not in his hometown of Mahikeng.
The North West government has already announced that the popular rapper, who allegedly took his life last Wednesday, would be afforded an official civic funeral to be addressed by premier Job Mokgoro.
All the plans now seem to hang by a thread as Sengadi locks horns with her in-laws in court. The Tsambo family has rejected Sengadi’s claims that she is the rightful spouse of HHP, claiming that the lobola negotiations flopped after she left HHP.
Some of her sensational revelations are that HHP was a cocaine and CAT addict who refused professional help.
“I desperately wanted Jabba to obtain professional help, not only for his depression, but also his drug addiction… on two separate occasions during our relationship.
“I had arranged to have him admitted to drug rehabilitation centres, locally as well as in Port Elizabeth. However, whenever the time arrived for Jabba to report to such rehabilitation centre in order to be admitted, he refused to do so,” read the papers.
She further said the rapper’s addiction and depression also took its toll on their marriage, stating that he acted irrationally and aggressively towards her whenever he was under the influence of cocaine and CAT.
Unpacking the last throes of their relationship, Sengadi also exposed HHP as a cheat, claiming that she caught him live on one of their video calls with another woman in his bed while in Botswana, where he had gone to perform.
She claimed the incident happened in March while she was on holiday in Malaysia with a family member.
She said the rapper did not even bother to hide the other woman as he appeared to be high and could not answer her questions about her identity.
While she said Robert Tsambo, HHP’s father, did not recognise her as their makoti, she insisted that she was the rightful one.
She said HHP’s family paid R35 000 of the R45 000 lobola into her mother’s bank account in February 2016.
Sengadi added that they lived as husband and wife at HHP’s house despite the outstanding lobola.
Sengadi said that in a heated argument last Tuesday, Robert told her he did not acknowledge her as his daughter-in-law and that she was not allowed to arrange, participate in, or have any knowledge of, the funeral arrangements of the deceased.
“I cannot allow people who did not even feel for him or care for him to make decisions regarding Jabba’s final destination,” she said.
Sengadi has made it clear she will stop at nothing to get things her way.
She wants her father-in-law to hand over the keys to their Randpark Ridge matrimonial home as well as HHP’s identity document and death certificate.
She also demands all hard drives taken from HHP’s studio by the family.
“As Jabba’s customary wife, it is my right to make the necessary funeral arrangements for his burial and to play an integral part in all of the actions and proceedings in relation thereto.
“I have been deprived of this right. I have simply and without cause been prevented by the respondent [Robert Tsambo] from fulfilling my role as customary wife, and I accordingly seek urgent assistance from the above honourable court to interdict the respondent from making any further funeral arrangements for the burial of Jabba, and to cancel any funeral arrangements which have already been made.
“In addition I seek an order compelling the respondent to disclose the exact whereabouts of the remains of Jabba and to release such remains into my custody and control.
“I most certainly do not wish to exhume my husband’s body after it has been unlawfully buried,” she added.
A source told Sowetan that Sengadi’s lawyer submitted a letter of instruction to Samro warning it against any payout to HHP’s family.
Samro’s head of stakeholder relations, advocate Nkateko Maluleke, said he could not comment on the issue. “I would like to respect the wishes of the family and afford them much-needed privacy during this trying time.”
Responding to Sengadi’s affidavit Nkululeko Ncana, the Tsambo family spokesperson, said they were aware of her intentions to stop the burial.
“Lawyers are currently dealing with the matter. We have full confidence in our courts and believe that a reasonable outcome in the interest of justice will be arrived at.”
He said they would not respond to Sengadi’s claims.