Women Behind Bars
My husband protected the police minister - but he had to die
She planned her husband's murder after deciding she could no longer live a life of abuse
A woman who killed her husband - who was one of the VIP protectors of former police minister Fikile Mbalula – has told how she had suffered years of abuse before deciding to murder him.
She detailed how, numerous times, she had tried to report her abusive and promiscuous husband to the police - but was told how he could not be arrested because "they needed to follow procedure”.
"I drove to the police station with his body in the car and I wanted to tell the police officers to come and see the procedure,” Lindiwe* said.
Besides allegedly being failed by police, she claimed to have been failed by the family elders who had told her “kuyabekezelwa emshadweni", which translates to “a woman perseveres through marriage”.
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Lindiwe was speaking at the Johannesburg Correctional Services Centre last week, where members of the Gauteng Legislature had come to give encouragement to female offenders.
The offenders provided the entertainment for the day, performing short dramas, dance routines, singing and rendering poetry.
Lindiwe, who had taken to the stage, told the government delegates that she was sentenced to 30 years behind bars for murder and defeating the ends of justice.
She said she had planned her husband's murder after deciding she could no longer live a life of abuse - but was still in disbelief when her husband stopped moving after she shot him.
She failed to call the man she had organised to help her get rid of the body.
On the night of the murder, she claimed her husband had just returned from his girlfriend’s house, but had instead accused her of cheating.
"I shot him in his head," she said, adding that, had she not killed him, he would probably have killed her.
"I thought he would wake up. I stayed with his body in the house for three days… The body lay on the bed. The blood had even started to dry up," Lindiwe said.
On the fourth night, Lindiwe said she eventually called the young man she had organised as back-up to help her dispose of the body. She had already wrapped the rotting corpse in a black bag and tape – and then placed the body at a dump site.
"I kept quiet for 21 days," Lindiwe said, adding, however, that she "visited her husband's body" every day.
"I would think about what if he's awake. I would charge his phone and put it back there. I would put blankets on him and phone him and leave voicemail [messages]. I would change his blankets and take them home to go and wash them," Lindiwe said.
Lindiwe was eventually arrested and was kept in police cells for three weeks as police interrogated her about her husband's whereabouts, she said.
"I finally confessed… I took the police to the dumpsite but the body was not there. I cried. I said to the police I am not crying because he is dead. I am crying because he is not where I left him," she said.
The body had been found several days earlier and had been at a government mortuary, but had yet to be identified.
"I was almost charged for three murders because I didn't know that there had been two other bodies thrown there in the past," she said.
Addressing the prisoners, Legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe acknowledged government's shortcomings.
"As government, we went to apologise. We have failed you," she said.
Mekgwe highlighted, however, that while femicide was wrong, murdering men was just as wrong. She said the women now had a chance to redefine themselves following their incarceration.
The facility, also known as Sun City prison, currently has 706 sentenced female offenders. Another 273 are awaiting trial.
*Not her real name