'Merry' widow in court

25 January 2011 - 23:32 By KHETHIWE CHELEMU

Mulalo Sivhidzho, convicted killer of former City Press editor Mathata Tsedu's son, Avhatakali Netshisaulu, appeared to be in high spirits at her pre-sentencing hearing at the Johannesburg High Court.

Sivhidzho, who appeared to have gained weight since her conviction last month, smiled and laughed in the dock and even posed for family members as they took pictures of her using their cellphones.

Sivhidzho, who has been in custody since her conviction, has rarely repeated her outfits in court. Yesterday, she wore grey pants, a multi-coloured grey shirt with shades of white and red, and carried a big grey handbag. She was heavily made up and her lipstick was bright red. Her braids were neatly tied into a pony tail.

Judge Brian Spilg, sitting in for acting Judge Naren Pandya, who was off sick, postponed pre-sentencing procedures against Sivhidzho, her business partner, Ntabudzeni Matzhenene, and Arnold Sello to February 23.

Sivhidzho's probation report was still outstanding yesterday. Spilg said another postponement in the four-year case was inevitable.

Netshisaulu's father, Tsedu, and mother, Dzudzanani, noticed Sivhidzho's attention-seeking antics.

While Mulalo and Sello chatted with their families, Matzhenene, who seemed to have nobody to talk to in the public gallery, sat in the dock chatting to court officials.

Netshisaulu's murder has also torn apart the two families, who used to be close. They avoided each other and did not exchange glances or share a bench yesterday.

It looked as if the deceased's parents and his parents in law, Takalani and Nthatheni Sivhidzho, had never met.

Netshisaulu, an Anglo Platinum chartered accountant, had been back in the country barely a year after completing his studies in the UK before he was kidnapped, assaulted and burnt to death in the boot of his car on December 7 2006.

On his return to South Africa he bought his wife of seven months a car and a double-story home in Honeydew and gave her R40000 to buy furniture for the home.

Months later, he was dead. His bludgeoned, charred body was found in the boot of his burnt-out Volkswagen Golf in the Honeydew veld, northwest of Johannesburg.

Sivhidzho claimed her husband, on his way to conclude a business deal with Matzhenene, made a frantic phone call to her saying two cars were following him.

Evidence in court proved that she paid her two co-accused R4000 to murder her husband, after accusing him of infidelity, so that she could benefit from a huge insurance payout.

Netshisaulu's parents refused to comment on the case.

"We have decided to allow justice to take its course. There is no need for us to comment at this stage," said Tsedu who was accompanied by his brother-in-law, the Rev Sam Phupheli.

Sivhidzho's parents also refused to comment.