May 24 2011
Suspended Umlazi magistrate Michael Masinga has been found guilty of attempting to murder his now-estranged wife by hitting her on the head with the blunt side of an axe.
But Nompumelelo Masinga, the woman he married 28 years ago and with whom he had three children, said she bore him no malice and hoped he would not go to jail.
“He has never shown any remorse … and he has never contacted our daughters (aged 30, 22 and 15), so they have lost a parent already. But it would not be good for a person like him to go to jail,” she said after Monday’s court hearing.
Nompumelelo now lives in Gauteng where, she says, she feels safe. “I do not feel safe in Durban anymore,” she said.
She is still not divorced from Masinga who, Durban regional court magistrate Anand Maharaj found On Monday, had not only hit her on the head with an axe, but also kicked her, calling her a dog and shouting, “aren’t you dead yet?”
She said divorce proceedings had been delayed because of negotiations over maintenance, and then her funds had run out.
“I think now we will proceed, though,” she said.
The attack on Nompumelelo occurred at the family’s home in Woodlands, Durban, in March 2009.
Evidence before the court was that the couple were living separate lives at the time, and Masinga was occupying the servant’s quarters.
On that evening, he had brought home a woman and Nompumelelo had become enraged, and began throwing potatoes and onions at the window.
She and her daughter, Gugu, testified that they had gone back to the house when Masinga emerged with his axe and attacked Nompumelelo.
A doctor testified that she had sustained three deep wounds to her head.
Denying the charge, Masinga said she was lying and that their daughter was fabricating a story to back up her mother.
He claims Nompumelelo and his daughters had threatened to “kill the prostitute” (to whom he is now engaged) and had assaulted him with sticks.
He managed to disarm his daughter and hit his wife randomly with a stick in self-defence.
At no time did he have an axe and he had not seen any injuries on his wife when the police arrived.
However, magistrate Maharaj rejected his version and said he was a poor and unsatisfactory witness, who was unable to explain how his wife had sustained her injuries.
He said while Nompumelelo was “not the most impressive witness”, most of what she had said had been corroborated by her daughter, who had shown no sign of prejudice or bias against her father.
“She was honest and made concessions. She was candid, for example, about the fact that her mother was angry and had thrown the potatoes and onions. She admitted hitting him with a broomstick to protect her mother.”
The case was adjourned until August for sentencing.
Officials from the Magistrates’ Commission were in court on Monday, monitoring the proceedings. It is believed Masinga will face an internal misconduct inquiry today