Thandi Maqubela sentenced to 18 years in prison

The sentence was handed down in the Western Cape High Court this morning.

Thandi Maqubela speaking to her lawyer ahead of her sentencing in the Western Cape High Court on 31 March 2015. picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Convicted killer Thandi Maqubela has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder, three years for fraud and three years for forgery.

Judge John Murphy, a Johannesburg-based judge who travelled to Cape Town specifically for this case, said Maqubela, will serve an effective 18 years in prison with the fraud and forgery sentences running concurrently.

The sentence was handed down in the Western Cape High Court today.

In 2013, she was convicted for the 2009 murder of her husband, acting judge Patrick Maqubela.

Their marriage was rocked by his infidelity.

She was also found guilty of forging his will and fraudulently presenting it to the Johannesburg office of the Master of the High Court.

Murphy said the prescribed minimum sentence of life in prison is not applicable in this case.

"The fact that the minimum sentence is prescribed doesn't mean that the court is obliged to impose it."

He said the court is also permitted to impose a sentence less than the prescribed minimum when there are compelling circumstances.

Murphy said the reason sentencing proceedings have been delayed for the past 16 months is because Maqubela had terminated her counsel.

True to form, Maqubela was emotionless during sentencing. She put her dark sunglasses on after hearing her fate and was quickly led down to the holding cells.

Her two daughters, who were there to support her, followed proceedings from the public gallery.

The judge mentioned the following circumstances which among many other contributing factors were considered while making his decision:

  • Immediately before his death, the accused sought to expose his infidelities to Justice Minister, media and other prominent members of society.

  • She remained present with the body of the deceased for hours after the murder displaying a callous lack of empathy.

  • Murder was committed during an explosive crisis in the relationship between the accused & deceased.

  • Deceased was not remorseful about his affairs. His personal physician ventured the suggestion that he was proud of his affairs.

  • Deceased's conduct can be perceived as ingratitude giving the accused cause for grievance & despair.

  • The above, in all probability, clouded her judgement and moral compass.

  • The fraud was carried out nine months after the murder. The children of the deceased found themselves for a second time as a victim of the accused.

  • The fraud shows the greed of the accused who set out to deprive her own biological children of their rightful inheritance.