The wife of a slain police officer was allegedly charged R35,000 by a hired hitman to have her husband killed and she also gave him her deceased husband’s service guns as part of the payment.
On Thursday, the Witbank magistrate’s court heard how Patricia Mabojane-Kutu, 28, the wife of the slain member of the tactical response team (TRT) of the police, Sgt Joseph Kutu, sourced a hitman to have her husband killed.
Kutu, who was attached to the Middelburg TRT, was shot in his house in July.
His wife was arrested on December 16, after one suspect, Vincent Langa, 39, confessed to police that the widow had asked him to find a hitman.
Langa has since abandoned his bail application, as has Xolani Peter Ndabezitha, the third suspect in the case.
The widow was not asked to plead on a murder charge, four counts of possession of firearms and ammunitions, and robbery with aggravating circumstances when she appeared in court on Thursday.
Investigating officer Capt David Maboko told the court the widow had approached Langa seeking the service of a hitman (Ndabezitha), who was then sourced on her behalf.
“According to accused number one [Langa], the applicant in court [Mabojane-Kutu] asked accused number one to find her a hitman to kill her husband. As the state we are informed that the widow was charged an amount of R35,000 for the job and she only paid R7,000. She also gave the hitmen state-issued guns belonging to the deceased as a payment.”
Maboko said forensic evidence had shown that the applicant had traces of gun powder on her.
“The state also has evidence through GPS co-ordinates that the hitman left Kwaggafontein and was in the same place as the applicant, and only left when Kutu was killed.”
He said that through cellphone records they had also uncovered that the accused had contacted accused one and three.
He said two more suspects and four firearms were yet to be brought forward, and added they were also awaiting financial intelligence reports.
Maboko said witnesses had told him that after the shooting they had seen men coming out of the deceased’s house carrying bags, which are believed to have contained guns, including a R5 rifle.
State prosecutor Fridah Tshwane said the widow shouldn’t get bail as she had means to evade trial.
“The fact that she is powerful and hired hitman to kill her husband in her presence shows that when released on bail she has all the means to abscond trial. For her to come here saying the state doesn’t have a direct link to her in the murder and also handing herself over to the police does not mean being co-operative with the investigation,” said Tshwane.
“The fact that she was there, she is bringing the name of the department of justice into disrepute, and she needs to stay in custody until the matter is finalised,” she said.
Community members have been picketing outside the court calling for the three accused to be refused bail.
Earlier the defence lawyer, Tumelo Pilusa, read Mabojane-Kutu’s statement, saying she intended to plead not guilty.
“I have nothing to do with the death of my husband. On the said day I was home with my husband, prepared food and we ate. I was on my periods and I drank medication and felt drowsy and I went to sleep. My husband was in the living room. I heard noises and I thought they were from outside. I heard a person asking where is the gun. After that I heard gunshots. I then put on my gown and went to check and saw my husband lying on the floor. I checked him and saw a wound and blood on his head. I then went to call neighbours for help and the police, and to call an ambulance.”
“I will prove to this court that I didn’t participate in the murder of my husband. The state has a weak case against me and they base their case on gossip,” reads the widow’s statement.
The matter was postponed to next week.